Teenager suffers psychotic outbreak due to infection after being scratched by his cat

Tests came back positive for Bartonella henselae, a type of bacteria associated with an infection often contracted from a cat bite or scratch.

The tests came back positive for Bartonella henselae, a type of bacteria associated with an infection often contracted from a cat bite or scratch. Photo: Journal of Central Nervous System Disease.

The journal «Journal of Central Nervous System Disease» publishes a strange case reported by a hospital in the United States. It is about an adolescent who overnight began to suffer psychotic episodes (hallucinations, delusions, suicidal and homicidal ideation) without having a history of mental illness.

The 14-year-old boy was described as “socially, athletically and academically active,” and in fairly good health. But in October 2015 he suddenly started showing some symptoms of problems with your mental health. He believed that he was an “evil and accursed son of the devil” and had suicidal thoughts because he was afraid of murdering his family and friends. He also developed a large number of phobias and he was afraid that his family cat wanted to kill him.

It was hospitalized emergency in a psychiatric unit, under drug treatment antipsychotics. However, the episodes continued for a further 18 months.

During one of the examinations, a doctor noticed that the boy had some kind of stretch marks along his thighs and armpits. With that clue, they began to investigate if he also suffered from an infection.

The analyzes gave positive for Bartonella henselaea type of bacteria associated with an infection that is often contracted from a bite or cat scratch. Precisely, the minor’s family lived with two adopted stray cats.

As soon as the infection bacterial infection was treated with antibiotics, the adolescent’s mental health fully recovered. Doctors believe the bacteria was the psychotic break trigger.

The pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) is a clinical diagnosis given to children who have sudden and abrupt development of neuropsychiatric symptoms. The cause of PANS is unknown in most cases, but it is believed to be caused by infections, metabolic disturbances, and other inflammatory reactions.

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