Teen infected with rare rat-bite fever after she was bitten by pet rodents …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 25, 2015 in Rat News | Subscribe

A teenage girl was struck down by rat-bite fever after she was bitten by one of three pet rodents living in her bedroom.

The 17-year-old victim was taken to hospital after being hit by the potentially fatal infection three weeks after one of her rats died.

She suffered an intermittent fever, nausea, vomiting, pain in her right leg and a pink rash on her hands and feet.

The unnamed teenager was unable to walk for a time but she made a full recovery from the rare condition after four weeks.

If untreated rat-bite fever can result in mortality rates up to 13%.

A British Medical Journal Case Report said: “A 17-year-old girl presented with a 2-day history of right hip and low back pain.

“Over the past 2 weeks, she had intermittent fevers, nausea and vomiting.

“Her nausea and vomiting had improved, but her fevers persisted. She also noticed a pink rash on her hands and feet. She then developed severe pain localised in the right hip and low back, leading to immobility.

Teenage girl scratching wrist
Pain: The unnamed teenager was unable to walk for a time but she made a full recovery from the rare condition after four weeks

“She had no medical history. No family members had similar symptoms.

“Social history was significant for numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats. The rodents lived in the patient’s bedroom.

“One of these rats had died 3 weeks prior to onset of the patient’s symptoms.

“The patient developed intermittent fevers every 12-14 hours over the next 48 hours.

“Examination revealed tenderness to palpation over the sacroiliac (SI) joint, and pain with abduction and adduction of the right leg. Skin examination showed pink, coalescing macules localised to the dorsum of the hands and feet, which became more prominent with the fevers.

“Our patient was treated with 4 weeks of intravenous ceftriaxone. After 5 days of antibiotics, her rash and fever resolved completely. Her right SI joint pain improved over the next 2 weeks and resolved completely after 4 weeks.”

Read more:
Boy, 5, left covered in cuts after foot-long rat ‘tried to eat his face’ as he slept

The teenager lives in Virginia, USA, where only 200 cases of rat-bite fever have been recorded since 1839.

A blood test on the girl returned positive for Streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever.

Rat-bite fever has been recorded in writings dating back 2,300 years and was originally branded a disease of the poor.

But most at risk these days are laboratory and pet shop workers and children who keep pet rodents.

Public Health England said only between “one and two” cases of rat-bite fever are recorded each year in the UK.

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