Science and Health

Man bitten by cat contracted never-before-seen bacteria

The 48-year-old man made a full recovery after taking antibiotics.

Stray cat
Kamran Jebreili/AP

Health officials in the United Kingdom reported that a man who was bitten by a stray cat was infected with a novel bacteria. 

The 48-year-old, who was bitten in 2020, went to a hospital complaining of pain and swelling to his hand, according to a report for the Centers for Disease Control.

Health officials said his wounds were treated and he was given a tetanus shot. He reportedly returned to the emergency room the next day because the infection appeared to be spreading. He was given intravenous antibiotics at the hospital and a 5-day supply to be taken orally. 

The man made a full recovery, but doctors were still curious about the infection. 

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Doctors took samples and sent them off to a lab for analysis. 

The test results confirmed that the bacteria was a new form of Globicatella, which has previously been linked to bloodstream, heart, central nervous system and urinary tract infections. 

The report is intended to alert health officials that cats can be carriers of "undiscovered bacterial species" that can spread to humans. It adds that doctors should prescribe antimicrobial drug regimens when treating cat bites.

According to a study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 400,000 people in the U.S. are bitten by cats each year.