Rat Bite Fever article from the CDC - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Rat Bite Fever article from the CDC

Hi folks,
I'm new to PT, so if this is inappropriate here, please let me know.


I work in a zoo and supervise the children's zoo so I frequently search the 'net, and especially the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for information concerning zoonotics (diseases that are transmissable between humans and animals). I just found this article and thought you all might find it of interest.

It's nothing to panic about, but certainly something to be aware of. I've discussed this with both of our zoo vets and for the time being, we will continue to emphasize personal hygiene to our staff when dealing with our rats. (We have two in our education dept.).

I used to own a couple of rats, and have worked with or around them for years and never even heard of Rat Bite Fever. ...let alone that it could be fatal!

Anyway, this is just for your perusal.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 10:29 AM
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Despite the name, rat bite fever can be also be spread by mice, squirrels, dogs and cats. And, rats have a dry bite, their salivary glands are far back in their mouths, so the chance of you gettting even the tiniest bit of saliva in a wound are very slim. It's deadly to rats anyway so if they are exposed to it, in a few days they would be too sick to bite you and they would be dead in less than a week.
My ratties are in cages though and aren't exposed to it...they would have to get these things from ME.

It's nice to be a little concerned about these things, my mom still goes on and on about the disease that I'm supposedly going to get from my rat's poop. But the chances of you getting a disease from a rat bite, especially a caged rat, are very slim.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-15-2005, 10:30 AM
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thats pretty scarry
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 01:23 PM
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I feel the need to comment. I had Rat Bite Fever, or streptobacillary fever, a few years ago. This is why I'm so incredibly protective about my rats. Back then I was a college student, just starting out, and I wound up in the hospital for 8 days. 8 days of migratory arthritis, diarrhea, HIGH fever, blisters and a painful rash on my arms hands legs and feet, aches and pains and vomiting everywhere. My doctor told my mother to RELEASE my pets into the wild!!!!!! I complained with what I could... and eventually she agreed to have them tested... yeah well, while I was still in the hospital, she wound up taking them to the vet who told her to just put them all down.......... I lost my rats, my mice, and my chipmunk that day. it sunk me deep into depression that I still haven't recovered yet from (thank god for paxil), I dropped out of college (twice), and moved FAR away from home... the babies from a rat I had adopted pregnant was tested.... and was negative.. a woman had adopted them from me... 70 dollars for the test, and yet no one would perform it on my rats while I begged and pleaded in the hospital, then had them put down without telling me...

I've pretty much narrowed it down to either my mom's cats and their constant dead voles, or the untreated spring water that my step father bottled himself from a spring outside... because I had a LOT of gastrointestinal problems associated with the disease, it's almost certain it was something I digested.

and yes.. I almost died but I was so out of it while sick, I didn't even know.....

/edit- they took pictures of my blisters and rashes for medical journals, and had two disease specialists flown in to work on me during this time.. it was kind of cool to be in a medical book someday (had to sign my name away.. which I couldn't because of the arthritis, so I signed with an X).
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 01:26 PM
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I am so sorry to hear that. And I am very sorry for your loss and all of the mistrust and anger you must have felt about having a decision like that made about your pets without your permission!
I am glad you are ok and have moved on and now (as I can see ) are very successful with pets, as you have over 50!!!!! hehe

Thanks for all the info everyone. And thanks for sharing your story. I think it really highlights how careful we have to be...for our pets' sakes and our own!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 01:32 PM
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it was interesting to follow how others went through it... after my case, there was one in NYC involving a man and a wild rat, somewhere in NY at a dog show someone was infected by a dog, and another case in Canada involving a toddler. I was in syracuse, NY at the time (I live in MD now). the disease is so rare you can literally track it down......

also remember there are TWO different diseases with the same name. streptobacillary fever, and Spirillary fever. Spirillary's nowhere near as bad as streptobacillary..... also it goes by MANY MANY other names... haverhill fever, etc. I was creating a website on it YEARS ago when it happened, but I had since given up... because working on it would put me back in a funk that was hard to get out of... too much crying

www.geocities.com/ratbitefever IF it still exists.. it may not..
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