Rat Bite Fever

Rat Bite Fever Symptoms and Treatment

Rat bite is a rare disease and is caused by the rodents that are through the infected rodents. Knowing about the illness, precautions and treatments helps you to get a better idea about rat bite fever. You must see your physician if you feel that you are bitten by a rat.


There are two different bacteria that are responsible for rat bite fever. And they are

  • Streptobacillus moniliformis
  • Spirillum minus

You can see this disease often in Asia, North America and Europe. The rat bite fever is transmitted to many through the contact of mouth, eyes, nose, or the urine or secretions of an affected rodent. This infection can also be caused due to a bite. However, in fewer cases contact with the rodent or the secretions too cause the rat bite fever. It is usually the rat that causes the rat bite and hence the name, however; weasels, squirrels and gerbils can also cause rat bite fever.

Symptoms and Tests

The symptoms of rat bite fever vary based on the bacteria that caused the infection. If the infection is cause by Streptobacillus moniliformis, the symptoms may be:

  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Redness
  • Fever
  • Swelling of joints
  • Rashes

When rat bite is caused by Spirillum Minus bacteria, the symptoms include:

  • Open sore at the place, where the animal has bitten
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Red rashes
  • Purple plaques
  • Swollen nodes at the place of bite

Tests and Examination of Rat Bite:

As bacteria usually spreads across the skin, blood, lymph nodes, and joint fluid, bacteria in these areas are tested to detect the disease, methods like blood antibody tests and polymerase chain reaction, PCR in short are used.


It is recommended to contact a doctor immediately if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above. Death rate is 25% if the disease is left unattended. Antibiotics like Tetracyclines or pencilin are usually prescribed. And the course of treatment may last for at least 7 days to the maximum of 14 days.

Complications that may arise if not treated

  • Boils in brain tissues
  • Heart valves get infected
  • Parotid glands are swollen
  • Irritation of tendons
  • Pericarditis