Rat bites may be associated with a wide range of infections.

Infections (rat bite fevers) that may be associated with rat bites or excreta:

(1) leptospirosis

(2) Haverhill fever associated with Streptobacillus moniliformis (which can result in an endocarditis, septic arthritis and other complications; formely Actinomyces muris-ratti)

(3) sodoku associated with Spirillum minus

(4) rabies

(5) tetanus

(6) Salmonella and other enteric bacteria (from sewers)

(7) nonfermenting Gram negative bacteria (from environmental water)

(8) Gram-positive organisms (Corynebacterium kutscheri, Actinomyces species, other)


Additional infections transmitted by fleas on the rat:

(1) murine typhus

(2) plague (Yersinia pestis)


Other complications:

(1) anaphylaxis related to antigens in rat saliva

(2) trichinosis (if rats are eaten)


Management may include:

(1) prophylaxis against rabies and tetanus

(2) broad spectrum antibiotics

(3) wound cultures

(4) blood and other cultures if the patient develops a fever

To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.