Rat-bite fever

What is Rat-Bite Fever?

Rat-bite fever is a rare bacterial infection caused by two distinct types of bacteria: Streptobacillus moniliformis in North America; and Spirillum minus in Asia and some parts of Africa. The infection can be spread by rat or mouse bites, or by the ingestion of contaminated food or water.

In most cases, rat-bite fever is treatable with antibiotics, so it's important to get medical help if you think you have contracted it.

Symptoms of Rat-Bite Fever

The symptoms of rat-bite fever can vary and it could take weeks for any to show up. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Hives
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

Treatment for Rat-Bite Fever

Treatment for rat-bite fever usually includes antibiotics such as penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin or doxycycline. It is important to follow the instructions your doctor gives you when taking antibiotics. However, in some cases, people may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics to treat their infection.

It is also important to get medical attention as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed to rat-bite fever. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the infection from becoming serious or potentially fatal.