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December 18, 1981

Transverse Myelitis Associated With Cat-Scratch Disease in an Adult

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital, Johnstown, Pa.

JAMA. 1981;246(24):2840-2841. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320240048024

CAT-SCRATCH disease, also known as nonbacterial regional lymphadenitis, is an uncommon illness that afflicts children primarily and was first reported in the literature by Debre et al1 in 1950. The disease is usually mild and self-limited and is characterized by subacute regional lymphadenitis, fever, and malaise. The causative agent is unknown, and no consistently effective medical treatment has yet been described.

Neurological manifestations are rare and have been recognized since 1952, when the first case report of encephalitis associated with cat-scratch disease was published by Stevens.2 An additional 24 cases with neurological complications have been described in the English-language literature since then.3-7 The majority of these are reports of encephalopathy and convulsions. To our knowledge, there are only two cases of myelitis and radiculitis.8,9 Both patients were younger than 18 years. We describe a case of cat-scratch disease in a 44-year-old adult complicated by myelitis presenting