Who knew this disease could be found here in the States?
A teenager has become infected with a rare condition called rat-bite fever from three pet rodents she had living in her bedroom.
The 17-year-old was admitted to hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia, with pain in her right hip and lower back that had continued for two days and led to her being unable to move.
Rat-bite fever – which can be deadly – has been reported in writings dating as far back as 2,300 years, and was originally described as a disease of the poor.
These days, most cases occur in lab workers or in children with pet rodents.
The condition often goes unrecognised and undiagnosed – and only 200 cases of rat-bite fever have been recorded in the U.S. since 1839.
Most cases of rat-bite fever involve a bite or scratch from a rodent, but there are several reports of infection without direct bacterial contact, according to doctors describing the teenager’s case in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
For two weeks, the teenager had an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and a pink rash on her hands and feet.