By nature, rat is not an aggressive animal that will attack human being for no reason so we don’t have to worry so much about being bitten. However, if they feel that they are threaten, rats might bite for self-defense.
Being bitten by a rat in most cases will not cause you rabies like if you are bitten by dogs or any other bigger warm blooded mammals that might carry rabies viruses. But it does not mean a rat bite cannot bring you any harm or does not need any further treatment.
Rat bite can look and feel like puncture on your skin or just like a jagged abrasion depending on the depth of your wound caused by the rats’ teeth. If you are bitten by some types of rat, its saliva is containing hazardous substances that might cause rat bite fever.
Rat bite fever symptoms
Based on the type of bacteria that cause the disease, rat bite fever can be classified into two different types. First is rat bite fever that is caused by Streptobacillus Moniliformis which resulting Streptobacillary Rat Bite Fever and second is rat bite fever that is caused by Spirillum Minus bacteria that resulting in Spirillary Rat Bite Fever.
Streptobacillary Rat Bite Fever
This type of rat bite fever is mostly found in America. The symptoms of Streptobacillary Rat Bite Fever will include fever, vomiting, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, and rash.
These symptoms usually will occur about 3-10 days after the contact with the rat. However, a delayed to 3 weeks can also happen depending on several reason such as the number of bacteria being in contact with the patient. Usually, when the first sign of fever appears, the scratch or the wound from the rat bite has gone.
After the second to the fourth day of fever, usually maculopapular rash will appear as well as one or more joint will be swollen.
Spirillary Rat Bite fever
This is the type of rat bite fever that spread across Asia. The symptom of this fever will include fever that might occur continuously and appearance of ulcer at the bite wound, swelling wound, swollen lymph nodes, rash occurs following wound healing.
These symptoms usually will occur about 7-21 days after you encounter rat bite. These signs also associated with Haverhill fever that is the rat bite fever that you get from consuming contaminated food or water. However, there are several differences that we will notice from the symptoms of rat bite fever caused by contaminated food or water compared to the rat bites fever that is from rat bites or scratch which are in Haverhill fever, the vomiting is more severe as well as the sore throat.
Preventing rat bite fever
Protecting yourself from rat bite fever is considerably much simpler than if you have to treating yourself from the disease. Prevention step that you can do such as avoiding contact with the rats and avoid the places where rats usually present.
For Haverhill fever, you want to avoid consuming food and drinks that might have been in contact with rodents.
Washing your body part that was making contact with rodents (dead or alive) thoroughly with water and soap is also a simple step but might also be life changing.
Preventing your pet to play with rodents dead or alive is also an important step to do to avoid them from being infected and eventually infecting you as well.
Any laboratory worker that must make a lot of contact with rodent must take early and extra precaution and take extra care for themselves.
Treating rat bite fever
If you were bitten by rodent and currently experiencing the symptom, contacting your medical care is highly recommended as it might cause further infection or disease.
If you are suffering from rat bite fever, antibiotic is needed and most probably will be prescribed by your doctor. Most of the times, the doctor will give you penicillin. However, there are several other antibiotics that can be used to treat rat bite fever if you are allergic to penicillin.
Getting the emergencies assistance right after you are experiencing rat bite fever symptoms is highly important as without the right treatment, rat bite fever can cause infection that affect your brain, heart, lung and furthermore cause death even though it is very rare.