Pest- Borne Diseases: Rat - Bite Fever

February 26, 2019

Rite-bite fever is a disease contracted by humans after getting in contact with rodents infected with the bacteria Streptobacillus moniliformis and Spirillum minus. There are cases of this that are reported in the United States with Streptobacillus moniliformis as the cause. Person to person infection does not occur for this disease.

There is another variant of this disease: the Haverhill fever. This time, it is not caused by rat bites, but by ingesting food, water, or other liquids that are contaminated by rodents. Signs and symptoms are similar, the difference being that there is no history of rat bites or exposure.

How Is It Transmitted?

People who keep rats as pets are at high risk for this disease, as well as other people who work near rats. Obviously, their exposure to rats is very high.

There are several ways one can get the rat-bite fever:

  • Rat bites and scratches. That is if the rodent carries the bacteria. The bacteria can enter directly through wounds, or through mucus membranes such as the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with rat droppings, urine, or saliva from rats that are infected with the bacteria.
  • Handling of infected rats, or through contact with their droppings, urine, or saliva. This is why people working in pet stores are also at high risks.
  • Through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Infection through another person does not happen. If not treated, rat-bite fever can be fatal.

Signs And Symptoms

Early detection is very important for rat - bite fever. If left untreated, it can cause death. The signs to look out for are: Fever, muscle pain, headache, vomiting, joint pain, and rashes.

These usually occur 3 to 10 days after contact with the bacteria. For Haverhill fever, the symptoms are the same.


Immediately see a doctor when you have these symptoms. It is very important that you tell your healthcare provider that you came into contact with rodents so that your provider can take the appropriate steps for treatment.  


Since transmission is through rats, it is important to stay away from them. Keeping your house mice free is the first important step. Here are some tips to prevent mice infestation in your home:

  • Seal off cracks and holes. Mice can enter through them as their bodies are small and flexible.
  • Clean your house. Wipe off spilt liquids and crumbs off our table. Clean spills from stove tops and dining tables.
  • Make sure your trash cans are covered. Dispose of your garbage regularly.
  • Place your food in airtight containers.  
  • As much as possible, avoid having rodents as pets.

If you find your home to be infested with mice already and has become too much of a problem for you and your family, you may need to call in the experts. Let Go - Forth Pest Control Company take care of your mice problems.

The Leader In Pest Control

Go - Forth has been serving the homeowners with pest problems for 60 years now. They have excellent experience not only in mice treatment, but in many other pests as well, including mosquitoes, fleas, weevils, cockroaches, and ants.

The company has a team of highly skilled and well trained professionals who are equipped with only the state of the art equipment and a method that is both family and pet-friendly.

Contact us today set an appointment. Our friendly operators are standing by.  

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