Cat Scratch Disease Is an Entity Often Diagnosed in Breast Imaging Department During Axillary Lymph Node Assessment

Cureus. 2020 Jul 19;12(7):e9272. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9272.


Cat scratch disease (CSD) is an infectious disease process of generally immunocompetent children and young adults. This infection can be introduced through skin trauma by direct exposure to the saliva of an infected kitten or cat. CSD is typically associated with constitutional symptoms and self-limited regional lymphadenopathy. In the sole presence of swollen lymph nodes, however, the differential diagnosis for CSD is relatively broad, including an active infection, an ongoing inflammatory process, and a metastatic process. CSD can present as axillary lymphadenopathy without typical constitutional symptoms. With proper clinical and laboratory investigation, CSD can be accurately identified and correctly diagnosed, as demonstrated in this case series featuring five symptomatic young adults with axillary lymphadenopathy. Breast imaging clinic specializes in lymph node assessment because metastatic lymphadenopathy is one of the most common presenting signs of breast cancer. Most isolated axillary lymphadenopathy without breast mass is benign reactive lymphadenopathy, but biopsy is necessary to exclude malignancies, such as metastatic lymphadenopathy or lymphoma.

Keywords: axillary lymphadenopathy; bartonella henselae; breast cancer; breast mass; cat scratch disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports