In a bizarre case, a man developed mysterious boils on his neck after catching a life-threatening infection from his cat.
The 68-year-old from Missouri, went to the doctor after enduring painful red swellings on the right side of his neck for two months.
Blood tests revealed he was battling the rare condition tularemia, which can cause deadly pneumonia in up to 60 per cent of cases. The man is thought to have caught the disease from his cat, who died two days before he started feeling unwell.
Tularemia is rare but can affect both humans and animals if they eat undercooked meat from an infected animal, usually rabbits. Skin-to-skin contact with an infected pet can also spread the condition.
After being treated with antibiotics for a month, the patient made a full recovery.
After being transferred to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, the man was told his red, painful swellings where actually enlarged lymph nodes.
According to the case report published in The New England Journal of Medicine, blood tests revealed he was infected with the bacteria Francisella tularensis but was otherwise healthy.
He was diagnosed with glandular tularemia, which occurs when a person's lymph nodes swell at the site the bacteria enters their body.
It is the second most common form of illness from an Francisella tularensis infection, with the most common causing the same symptoms but with ulceration.
When asked if anything unusual had happened in the lead up to his illness, he told doctors his cat had died from 'feline leukemia' days before.
Yet this cancer diagnosis was made by a vet without any lab tests being carried out to confirm it.
The man is therefore thought to have caught Francisella tularensis from his cat while giving his pet the cancer drug prednisone....