Abstract

Histopathologic examination of lymph nodes from 39 patients with clinical and pathological criteria for cat scratch disease revealed delicate pleomorphic Gram-negative bacilli in 34 of the 39 nodes. They were within the walls of capillaries in or near areas of follicular hyperplasia and within microabscesses. They were best seen with the Warthin-Starry silver impregnation stain. Organisms in lymph node sections exposed to convalescent serum from three patients and to immunoperoxidase stained equally well with all three samples. The organisms did not react with hyperimmune sera to Legionella pneumophila nor to several species of Rickettsia. These bacilli appear to be the causative agents of cat scratch disease.