Rat-bite fever is a zoonotic disease which means it can be passed from animal to human.
It is caused by two strains of bacteria,
- Streptobacillary RBF
- Spirillary RBF
Streptobacillary RBF is caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis in North America while Spirillary RBF is caused by Spirillum minus and occurs mostly in Asia.
Both types of bacteria are both parts of the normal flora of bacteria that are found in the respiratory tracts of rats and it can be also be found in their saliva urine and feces.
People believe that you need to be bitten or scratched by a rat to get a rat-bite fever but rat bite fever can also be contracted from any close contact with rats or other rodents. Infection can also result from handling an infected rodent (even with no reported bite or scratch), or ingestion of contaminated food or drink.
Although rats are considered the natural reservoir of RBF, the bacteria that cause the condition have also been found in other rodent species, such as mice and gerbils.
Rat Bite Fever Symptoms.
Symptoms could take anywhere for three days to thr.ee weeks to appear and you could expect,
- Swelling near the bite wound
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Rashes and
- Pains in your muscles and joints
The infection can be confirmed with blood samples or tissue and fluid samples.
In extreme cases, you can get,
- Inflammation of the heart
- Hepatitis sepsis or Meningitis
Treatment for Rat Bite Fever
RBF bacteria are usually treated with penicillin. If you’re allergic to penicillin there are other antibiotics that can be used in its place. Sometimes, if it goes untreated either your body is going to clear it up on its own.
People who may be at increased risk of contracting RBF include those who:
- Live in rat-infested buildings
- Have pet rats in their home
- Work with rats in laboratories or pet stores
Protection from Rat Bite Fever
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap
- Keep Rats cages clean and well-ventilated
- Use disposable gloves when cleaning your cages or when handling poop and urine.
- If you’re bitten then clean and dress the wound appropriately.
- Don’t keep the Rat cage items in your kitchen sink.
- Be sure to disinfect whatever sink or bathtub you do use to clean rats infestation.
- Make sure you don’t have any sort of wild rodent infestations in your home where your pets may come in contact with a wild rat or mouse.
When you’re sick whether you’ve had contact with rodents or not the symptoms that you’ll get from Rat bite fever are all red flags that your body is giving you that something is wrong and you should not be ignoring that if you’re having some of the symptoms of rat bite fever. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have pet rodents and about any bites or scratches that you’ve had recently so that it’s on their radar.