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Rat bite fever: Causes, symptoms, treatment, and complications

Rat bite fever

Rat bite fever, also known as Streptobacillus moniliformis infection, is a rare bacterial illness typically contracted from rat and other rodent bites, as well as from eating food or water contaminated with these animals’ feces or urine.

When left untreated, rat bite fever can be very serious, even fatal in some cases.

This article will take an in-depth look at this disease, discussing its causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications, so you can better understand the condition and how it may affect you or someone you love.

What is rat bite fever?

Rat bite fever is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, usually a rat.

The bacteria that cause the disease are Streptobacillus moniliformis or Spirillum minus. Symptoms of rat bite fever include chills, headache, fever, muscle aches, and vomiting.

If left untreated, the infection can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia or meningitis. Treatment for rat bite fever typically involves antibiotics.

When untreated, rat bite fever can also cause long-term health problems such as heart complications or central nervous system issues.

Contact your doctor immediately if you think you may have been exposed to rat bite fever because treatment should begin as soon as possible.

Even if your case isn’t severe enough to warrant immediate treatment, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor so they can recommend preventative measures like antibiotics in order to avoid any future complications.

How do you get it?

Rat bite fever is caused by bacteria that are present in the saliva of infected rats. The bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin, such as a rat bite.

The incubation period for rat bite fever is 3-10 days. Symptoms include headache, chills, fever, muscle aches, and rash. Treatment involves antibiotics and rest.

The primary cause of rat bite fever is a bacterium called Spirillum minus.

S. minus is a type of spirochete that lives in rats’ mouths and intestines. People who have been bitten by rats can contract rat bite fever from S. minus bacteria entering their bloodstream through their skin via a small cut or scratch.

Rat bite fever occurs when someone comes into contact with infected animal saliva or feces that are carriers for S. moniliformis bacteria.

When a person is bitten by a rat or cut by its teeth, bacteria get into that person’s bloodstream. Rat bite fever can affect anyone.

People who have weak immune systems are more likely to get it than others. However rat bite fever cannot be transmitted from one person to another.

There is no vaccine available for rat bite fever. However, you can reduce your risk of contracting this disease by avoiding direct contact with rodents and wearing gloves if you must come into contact with them.

As a precautionary measure, all wounds should be washed thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol before being bandaged.

What are the symptoms of rat bite fever?

The symptoms of rat bite fever include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and vomiting. The incubation period is usually 3 to 10 days.

In some cases, a rash may also develop. If left untreated, rat bite fever can lead to serious complications, including meningitis, kidney failure, and death.

Rat bite fever is caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis bacteria. The organism can be transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected rat.

In rare cases, it can also be contracted through exposure to infected rat urine or feces. Rodents can become infected after eating food contaminated with rat feces that contain S. moniliformis bacteria.

When rats are bitten by another rat they typically die within three weeks as the infection spreads throughout their body.

A small number of people who are bitten will experience a milder form of the disease while others will not show any signs at all.

It is important to get prompt medical attention if you have been bitten so the infection can be diagnosed quickly and treated before the onset of more severe symptoms such as seizures, coma, and even death.

Why does it happen?

Rat bite fever is caused by infection with Streptobacillus moniliformis bacteria. These bacteria are found in the mouths of rats and can be passed to humans through a bite or scratch from an infected rat. The incubation period for rat bite fever is 3-10 days.

Transmission of rat bite fever is usually through a scratch or bite from an infected rat. It can also be spread when you eat food that has been contaminated with feces from an infected rodent.

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2008, some people may be at higher risk for rat bite fever if they live in multi-story housing because rats tend to roam freely within these buildings.

The bacteria responsible for rat bite fever can be spread from one person to another through close contact.

This includes being bitten or scratched by an infected rat. It can also be spread through eating food that has been contaminated with feces from an infected rodent. In rare cases, it may be spread during organ transplantation.

What are the complications of rat bite fever?

Rat bite fever can cause a number of complications, including endocarditis (inflammation of the heart), meningitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord), septicemia (blood poisoning), pneumonia, and osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone).

In severe cases, rat bite fever can lead to death. If you think you might have rat bite fever, it’s important to see a doctor right away.

They’ll take your medical history, perform a physical exam, test your blood for infection, and give you antibiotics if necessary. It may take one or two weeks before all signs of infection disappear.

The good news is that rat bite fever is treatable with antibiotics, and most people make a full recovery.

However, some people who contract the disease need long-term antibiotic treatment. There are also some rare cases where patients develop kidney failure from untreated rat bite fever.

Patients should always consult their physician as soon as possible if they suspect they may have contracted the disease to avoid any complications from occurring in addition to receiving appropriate treatment.

Is there treatment of rat bite fever?

Treatment for rat bite fever generally includes antibiotics and rest. If the infection is severe, hospitalization may be necessary.

In some cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged tissue. In rare cases, rat bite fever can be fatal. There is no specific vaccine available.

The best prevention measure is to avoid contact with rats or their droppings. Individuals who are in contact with rats should wear gloves and other protective clothing while handling them. Keep food stored away from areas where rats are present, as they will attempt to steal it.

A person who develops symptoms of a rat bite fever should seek medical attention immediately, as this disease can quickly become life-threatening if left untreated.

To avoid contracting rat bite fever, try to prevent contact with rats by wearing gloves and other protective clothing when handling them.

Also make sure that any food that you store is out of reach of these rodents by keeping it in airtight containers or tins that have tight lids on them.

How can you prevent it?

There are a few things you can do to prevent rat bite fever. First, avoid contact with rodents or their urine and feces.

If you must be around them, wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards. Second, if you have a pet rodent, take it to the vet regularly for check-ups.

Third, don’t feed wild rodents. Fourth, if you see a dead rodent, don’t touch it.

Fifth, clean up any rodent infestations in your home right away. Lastly, get rid of rats on your property by using traps and poison bait.


Rat bite fever is a serious illness that can cause death if untreated. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical. If you think you or someone you know has rat bite fever, see a doctor immediately. The sooner the disease is treated, the less likely it will become fatal. Antibiotics are typically used to treat rat bite fever as they work to kill bacteria in the body.

A blood transfusion may be necessary for patients with severe anemia due to blood loss caused by their infection. Patients who experience kidney failure need dialysis treatments to help them filter waste from their bloodstream so they don’t develop infections or have other complications related to the kidneys not working properly.

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