Baby contracts meningitis from pet cat

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A young English girl was nearly killed when she contracted a rare form of meningitis after the family’s pet cat infected her.

At only three weeks old, Sparkle Anderson contracted bacterial meningitis from her mother’s two-year-old pet cat, Chesney.

He had a high fever when she was rushed to hospital and had to spend a month in hospital recovering from the illness. It is thought that the illness had been transferred to Sparkle when Chesney licked her bottle.

According to her mother, Chelsea-Ann Dodd, doctors told her that the young child was only the 39th person worldwide known to have contracted that particular meningitis strain.
The National Meningitis Association has stated that the number of reported cases change from one year to the next. About 1,500 Americans were infected between 1998 and 2007. The average number of cases ranged from 900 to 3,000. They stated that around 11% of reported bacterial meningitis cases end in death.

Meningitis Now has said that although rare, there is the possibility of contracting meningitis from cats, however people should not worry about it too much. The advice they offer is that you should not get rid of your pet, but merely be aware of the signs and symptoms related to meningitis.

If you suspect that the disease is present, you should take immediate action. Some of the symptoms to be aware of are high fever, with cold feet and hands, a stiff neck, aversion to bright light, undue crying, drowsiness and unresponsiveness.

The cat in this case was removed to live with the little girl’s grandmother.

The little girl and the cat have now become best friends and follow each other around all the time.

Sparkle’s mother stated that she did not know very much about meningitis and believed that she should only be on the lookout for a rash. She is now aware of the other symptoms and feels that being aware of this helps in catching the disease in its early stages.

Image credit: tanjila ahmed

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