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Cat scratch disease during pregnancy.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the pregnancy outcome, including long-term follow-up of the offspring, of pregnant women with cat scratch disease.

METHODS: A surveillance study performed over 19 years identified eight pregnant women with cat scratch disease. A case of cat scratch disease was defined as a patient with a history of cat contact with regional lymphadenitis, other manifestations, or a combination of these consistent with the disease and one or more confirmatory laboratory tests. The clinical and laboratory manifestations and pregnancy outcome of all women diagnosed with cat scratch disease during pregnancy are described.

RESULTS: Five of the eight pregnant women had typical disease with regional lymphadenitis; two had regional lymphadenitis with arthralgia, myalgia, and erythema nodosum; and one had neuroretinitis. Delayed diagnosis was common, although all women had a history of recent cat exposure. One woman who presented with clinical cat scratch disease during the first month of pregnancy had a spontaneous abortion. Another elected to terminate the pregnancy because of concerns related to radiation associated with abdominal computed tomography scan performed as part of an evaluation for suspected malignancy. The other six women gave birth to healthy newborns without congenital anomalies. No sequelae were recorded in mothers or children during a median follow-up of 4.5 years (range 0.5-9.5 years).

CONCLUSION: With the exception of one early spontaneous abortion in which causality to cat scratch disease could not be established, neither deleterious effects of cat scratch disease on newborns nor reports of long-term sequelae were found. Physicians, especially family physicians and obstetrician-gynecologists need to be more familiar with the clinical manifestations of cat scratch disease. Close monitoring of infected women during pregnancy is advisable until more data are available to determine the optimal diagnostic and therapeutic approach.

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