• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Rat Fever: Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Rat bite, as the name might suggest is the bite of a rat. It happens when rats are not their usual self and feel cornered or somehow pressured. Rat bites are becoming more common. It is because more and more people are preferring to keep them in a cage as pets. Rat fever or rat bite fever happens as a result of the rat bite. Also, due to the widespread climatic change the population of rats is growing at an exponential rate. There are many wild rats that one can sight. They are the ones  that bite more often compared to other ones.

If you thought that being bitten by a rat would cost you your life, you are wrong. Rat bites in most cases is not a thing of concern. The problem however arises when the area where the rat has bitten you gets infected. It leads to a condition which is popularly known as rat fever.

How Do You Get Rat Fever?

Rat bite fever causes

A rat biting a stem, Credit: Canva


Rat fever is a dangerous infection that is caused due to a bacteria called Spirillum minus and streptobacillus moniliformis. This bacteria enters into the human body through the medium of the rat bite. Apart from that, it can also enter into a human’s system when they are exposed to urine and feces of the rats. It can also come into the body when a person consumes such foods and beverages that are contaminated.

Rat fever is mainly observed in children below the age of five years who live in a backward or underprivileged area. Apart from them, certain people who work in pet stores with rats and those who work in labs experimenting on rats are also highly susceptible to contracting this condition. Is rat fever curable? You might think that it would be fatal. However, if you begin the antibiotic treatment soon, you can recover from this fever easily.

What Are the Symptoms of Rat Fever?

Rat bite fever symptoms

person feeling joint pain, Credit: Canva


Rat fever is of two types, namely, the one that is caused by streptobacillary bacteria, which is called the streptobacillary RBF and the one caused by spirillary bacteria called the spirillary RBF. the former, that is,  streptobacillary RBF is relatively mild and there is not much cause of concern as the fever fades pretty fast.  However within the duration of the fever you are prone to experiencing symptoms like

  1. Pain in the joints

  2. Chills accompanied by constant high temperature

  3. Pain the muscles

  4. Headache

  5. Rashes in the skin

  6. Diarrhea and vomiting

The severity of these symptoms and their duration vary from person to person. In some people they may last for just three days while in others it may take as long as two weeks to get over them.

The fever caused by the spirillary bacteria, ie. spirillary RBF is a bit more intense than the one mentioned above. Although it might seem to you that you are recovering but in most cases, certain symptoms may appear after a duration of seven to twenty one days after the rat bite happened. Its symptoms are:

  1. Headache

  2. Chills accompanied by constant high temperature

  3. Pain the muscles

  4. Vomiting and throat soreness

  5. Swelling in the lymph nodes

  6. Presence of ulcers at the point of infection

  7. Rashes in the skin

Is There Any Rat Bite Treatment?

Rat bite fever treatment

child suffering from fever, Credit: Canva


Rat bites demand the immediate attention of a doctor. However, if a doctor is not within your proximity, then you should immediately wash the infected area with lukewarm water and soap. Do not let the infection stay as it is. After washing the infected area, take a clean dry cloth and put a topical antibiotic cream. After applying the cream, you should take a bandage and wrap it around the affected area.

Rat bites, even if they are mild ones should never be self medicated. It is because they are highly prone to turning into harmful infections. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider getting a tetanus shot.

During the subsequent period when you are recovering from rat fever you are also prone to developing rat fever. You can also experience the following at that time:

  1. Skin that feels warm on touching

  2. Redness in the affected area accompanied by inflammation.

  3. Pus from the affected spot

  4. An intense, continual pain in the area of the bite

  5. Fever accompanied by chills

  6. Constant ache in the joints

Rat bites should not be ignored. In order to heal from rat fever you need to embark on a full course of antibiotics under the guidance of your doctor. The antibiotic course may last upto a week or a few more days. If you have been bitten more severely then you should go in for intravenous antibiotics. Remember that even after recovering from the fever you can experience slight fatigue, pain in the joints, and skin rashes.

0 views0 comments