Rat Bite Fever

Rodents are pests in any home. They nibble through wires, destroy reachable food, and leave droppings. Worst of all, rodents are known to carry and transmit many diseases and illnesses to humans. One such infection is known as rat bite fever. This infection can infect humans and even household pets.

You can find rat bite fever in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia. There are two types of bacteria that cause rat bite fever: Spirillosis and Streptobacillosis. Both types can be treated with penicillin. Streptobacillosis can also be treated by tetracycline or doxycycline.

Rat bite fever is caused by exposure to rats. In fact, humans often get this infection from a rat bite. In addition, humans can contract it by consuming water or food contaminated with rat feces. Household pets that are infected can also transmit the disease to humans.

Symptoms of Rat Bite Fever

Signs of rat bite fever vary between people and depend on which bacteria have infected them. In most cases, the infected individual has an inflamed, open sore at the bite location. In addition, the bite area may have a rash or become red. Furthermore, if infected by Streptobacillosis, symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, and vomiting. If infected by Spirillosis, symptoms include lymph nodes issues like swelling.

Prevention & Treatment

This infection can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection may take up to a year to resolve on its own. However, there is a particular strain of the infection in the United States that can cause fatality. Additionally, streptobacillary rat bite fever can infect the lining of the heart, brain and spinal cord covering, and lungs.

There is no vaccine available for prevention. Other precautions may be taken to reduce risk of infection. Avoid exposure to rats and mice. Next, keep your pets away from rodents. Also, do not allow them to eat live or dead rodents. Additionally, call pest control to remove any live or dead rodents near your home. Lastly, if a rodent bites you, immediately cleanse the area and apply an antiseptic. This decreases your chance of infection.