This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose answer is cat scratch disease (Bartonella henselae). While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how cat scratch disease will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a traditional question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a topic is quite valuable.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS CONDITION (ON EXAMS)
When it comes to standardized exams, each topic has its own “code” marked by key buzzwords, lab findings, clues, etc. If you are well versed in this code you will be able to more quickly identify the condition that is being discussed, and get the right answer on the exam you are taking. Below is the “code” for cat scratch disease.
- Fever and/or malaise are common chief complaints.
- History of exposure to cats and/or scratches from cats (or bites): this can be framed in many different ways on an exam.
- There can be physical evidence of a bite or scratch on exams
- Inflamed lymph node(s): typically a single lymph node is involved. An axillary lymph nodes being swollen is a very common presentation however other areas can be involved as well.
- Granulomatous tissue on histology (can be necrotizing).
Question # 1
Explanation # 1
Question # 2
Explanation # 2
TESTABLE FACTS ABOUT THIS TOPIC (BEYOND ITS IDENTIFICATION)
Many questions on standardized exams go beyond simply recognizing the underlying topic. Often there are specific testable facts regarding some aspect of the topic’s pathophysiology/management/clinical implications that are commonly asked. Some of these are listed below:
- Pathogenic cause: Bartonella henselae is the organisms responsible for this condition.
- Transmission: this organism lives in the oral cavity of cats. Can be transmitted to humans by cat bites/scratches.
- Treatment: Azithromycin
Page Updated: 04.23.2017