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October 6, 1978

Cat-Scratch Disease Causing Reversible Encephalopathy

JAMA. 1978;240(15):1628-1629. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290150074032

CAT-SCRATCH disease (CSD), also known as benign inoculation lymphoreticulosis or nonbacterial regional lymphadenitis, is a nonfatal illness that Debre et al1 first described in 1950. It is characterized by malaise; fever; subacute lymphadenitis limited to one region, with tendency to suppurate and with or without a primary skin lesion distal to the node; and a history of a cat scratch or bite or of some comparable trauma to the skin.

Neurologic manifestations are uncommon. Stevens2 was the first to report a case of encephalitis associated with CSD in 1952, and since then, 18 documented cases of this complication have been published in the English-language literature.3 Only two of these occurred in adults.

We report a case of acute encephalopathy associated with CSD in an adult patient whose illness had some unusual aspects.

Report of a Case  A 26-year-old physician, a native of India, was brought to the