How Bad Are Rat Bites?

How Bad Are Rat Bites?

There is no universal answer for the question “how bad are rat bites?” However, there are certain factors that can contribute to an infection. People with weakened immune systems, such as those suffering from diabetes, HIV or liver disease, and pregnant women, are more susceptible to infection than others. Children under five years of age are also at risk of infection, because their immune systems are still underdeveloped.

People who have been bitten by a rat or other rodent should clean the wound with soap and water and immediately contact a medical professional. A doctor can determine whether a rat-bite infection has developed and start treatment. Those who have weakened immune systems, such as those who are on certain medications, should also seek medical care to prevent rat-bite fever.

The CDC says that rat-bite fever is a serious illness that affects one out of 10 people. It can be treated successfully with common antibiotics, but if left untreated, it can lead to heart or brain infections and even death. The symptoms of rat-bite fever can be very uncomfortable and difficult to diagnose, but if you have had a rat bite, you should visit a doctor right away.

Rat bite fever usually begins 3 to 10 days after exposure to a rat. Sometimes, it may take up to three weeks before the symptoms appear. The infection can also be spread through contact with rat urine and feces. People living in poverty or who work with rats are more likely to get infected with RBF.