Rat Bites Fever (RBF): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Not only rat bites are dangerous to humans but also the consumption of food or water contaminated with urine and droplets of rodents carrying bacteria can also infect a person. This can lead to Haverhill fever. This medical condition (Rat Bite Fever) can become a severe or fatal disease if proper treatment is not done.

Without early diagnosis and applicable treatment, RBF will cause severe health problems and death. With the exception of RBF, exposure to rodents will cause several alternative diseases. That’s why we recommend you to use various rat poisons available in the market to throw them out of your house.

How is rat-bite fever transmitted and caused?

Rat-bite fever (RBF) is an infectious disease caused when people are exposed to rodents carrying bacteria. Consumption of food or water contaminated with the excretory product and droplets of rodents carrying the bacterium is the main reason for this acute, febrile human illness known as Haverhill fever.

  • A bacteria named “Streptobacillus” is the cause of RBF in North America known as streptobacillary RBF.
  • Another bacteria is Spirillum minus, which is common in Asia. And also known as sodoku.

Who can easily affect with Rat-bite?

If you live, work, or keep pets in an area with rats, the risk is even higher. The more risk on children because they are more likely to take action to disturb or bully rats. People who have weak immune systems or people diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, HIV and liver disease may face higher complications after being bitten by mice. Kids below the age of five can also easily be affected by rat bites because their immune systems have not yet fully developed.

How can we lessen the risk of a rat bite?

It is important to reduce the risk of being bitten by mice. To do this you need to Understand animal’s or rodent’s behavior. All people close to animals should follow the below rules to avoid unfavorable or aggressive conditions:  

  • Handle them with light hands.
  • When they eat or feed their young ones, leave them alone.
  • Never bother any pests or pets.

Make sure to clean your hands after touching or examining the rodent or its cage, bedding, urine, or feces. If in case, you got a rat bite, then immediately wash the wound with plenty of soap and water, it can kill bacteria and reduce the risk of rat-bite fever. Do not take this situation lightly, immediately reach your health adviser for further consultation.

Symptoms and Signs of Rat Bit Fever

Symptoms usually occur In 3 to 10 days after exposure to bacteria, but may be delayed until 3 weeks. By this time, the infection is usually cured due to any rodent bite or scratch wound. Usually, we feel rashes on the hands and feet. This rash seems like flat, reddened areas with little bumps. Given below are a few of the symptoms of RBF:

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Joint pain or swelling 
  • Rash

Effect of Rat Bite Fever On Human Body

According to a survey about 1 in 10 people who is RBF infected die. But the rest of the people has some illness appear to see below…

  • Lots of patients seen as in their internal organs have been sawing an excess of infected fluid.
  • Hepatic infection (hepatitis) and kidney (nephritis)
  • Lung infection (pneumonia)
  • Brain and nervous system infections (meningitis)
  • Streptobacillary RBF (endocarditis, myocarditis or pericarditis)

How to Treat Rat Bites at Home

If the rat bites any person. First of all, we need to control bleeding and clean the wound with soap and warm water thoroughly or it’ll cause irritation later. After cleaning, apply the antibiotic ointment and cover the wound with a clean, dry cloth. An infected person should consult a doctor in order to heal completely. If a person will not take proper treatment then he/she can see some signs of RBF.

  • Amoxicillin 
  • Penicillin
  • Erythromycin
  • Doxycycline 

And if a person suffers from heart disease and is bitten by a rat then they should take high-dose penicillin either streptomycin or gentamicin. But first, they have to consult the doctor. 

Home Remedies to Keep Rats Away From House 

  • If you have Ammonia, put it in a spray bottle and spray it all around rat halls.
  • Mice don’t like cloves, So you can put cloves in a cloth or just put them near the rat hall and all over your house.
  • DIY your own anti-mice univalve by combining shredded garlic with water. You can also leave garlic sauce at the entry point of your home.
  • Chilli is used to keep away animals from ancient times. So take 1 cup flour and ½ cup chili powder mix them together and put it in the corner of your room, it will help to keep the rats away from your house.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is rat bite fever?  

Rat bite fever is very uncommon because rat bite bacteria are challenging to diagnose and the infirmity usually reacts strongly to prescribed antibiotics, this is the reason why cases cannot always be recognized. Every year, nearly 20,000 rodent bites befall in the United States and the risk of rodent bite fever caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis, and is estimated to be approximately 10%.  

Can we get a rat-bite fever from another animal?

The simple is Yes. There are other rodents species can also transmit rat bite fever bacteria, including mouse, squirrels, gerbils, and guinea pigs. If you are bitten by rats or other rodents, then follow the same treatment steps of rat fever as discussed above.

Can the rat-bite fever spread from person to person?

RBF will not be passed from one person to another. But, it is a very serious or even mortal illness. If you have any signs or symptoms of RBF, seek immediate medical attention.


Rat-bite is not a major source of rabies. But rat bites can be deathly as rats carry bacteria named ‘Spirillum minus’. This bacteria is the cause of Rat Bite Fever. If the affected person didn’t get proper treatment then the person may die. It is important to do a pest inspection at your place.

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