Woman killed from lethal bacteria after cat licked her

A grandmother spent nine days in a coma before dying after her pet cat licked her, prompting a warning to other owners from doctors.

JULY 6, 20207:06PM

Doctors are warning people about the dangers of cat saliva after a woman died from her pet licking her.

Infectious disease specialists say they are seeing at least one person a week in Melbourne hospitals because of the lethal bacteria in cat saliva.

They warn it can cause devastating complications such as heart failure and even blindness.

One Melbourne family has been left heartbroken after they found their 80-year-old grandmother unresponsive in bed with her cat Minty curled up beside her.

While the family want to stay anonymous, they wanted to warn others about the dangers of keeping cats, especially for vulnerable people. (See link for article)



Key Quote:  

“It is a big deal and it is emerging more and more now as an unrecognised cause of heart valve infection, which is obviously fatal if untreated,” Prof Grayson told the newspaper.

The article mentions pasteurella, which can cause meningitis, and bartonella, which causes “cat scratch disease”.

Bartonella is a common coinfection with Lyme disease and is a very persistent infection.  For more: There is a checklist you can print and fill out in this link.


Mode of Transmission: Arthropod vectors including fleas and flea feces, biting flies such as sand flies and horn flies, the human body louse, mosquitoes, and ticks; through bites and scratches of reservoir hosts; and potentially from needles and syringes in the drug addicted. Needle stick transmission to veterinarians has been reported. There is documentation that cats have received it through blood transfusion. 3.2% of blood donors in Brazil were found to carry Bartonella in their blood. Bartonella DNA has been found in dust mites. Those with arthropod exposure have an increased risk, as well as those working and living with pets that have arthropod exposure. 28% of veterinarians tested positively for Bartonella compared with 0% of controls. About half of all cats may be infected with Bartonella – as high as 80% in feral cats and near 40% of domestic cats. In various studies dogs have close to a 50% rate as well. Evidence now suggests it may be transmitted congenitally from mother to child – potentially leading to birth defects.

If my husband and I have symptoms they are caused by Bartonella, not Lyme.