This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
Researchers already spoke out about the dangers of being affectionate to chickens; now they are warning against getting close to a more commonly beloved pet: cats.
Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put together a survey of a cat-born disease called “Cat-Scratch Fever” (CSF) and it may be potentially dangerous. It’s the first large-scale study on the disease done in fifteen years.
The knowledge of Cat-Scratch Fever is not new, but it was once thought of to be mild. Due to this survey, the CDC concluded that it can be fatal.
“The scope and impact of the disease is a little bit larger than we thought,” said Dr. Christina Nelson, lead author of the study and medical epidemiologist at the CDC.
CSF is a bacterial disease that can be transferred by kissing cats or touching your face after touching a cat’s fur. Kittens are more likely to be carriers of the disease than older cats.
Thankfully, CSF is preventable. The CDC recommends you watch your hands after interacting with cats. Nelson also recommends to use proper flea control and to keep cats indoors if you cannot avoid them entirely (or don’t want to).
“Cat-scratch is preventable,” Nelson said. “If we can identify the populations at risk and the patterns of disease, we can focus the prevention efforts.”
For now, it’s best to keep cautious when giving some love to your cat — and remember to always disinfect.