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October 6, 1978

Cat-Scratch Disease Causing Reversible Encephalopathy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Torres and Sanders) and Neurology (Drs Strub and Black), Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans.

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