By Gary M. White, MD
Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a rare infectious disease caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis or Spirillum minus with potentially fatal complications.
- Transmission is usually through a bite or scratch from an infected rat.
- Three to 10 days after exposure, the patient develops fever, chills, headache, vomiting and a rash.
- Patients of any age (adults and children) may be affected.
Tender hemorrhagic vesicles favoring the hands and feet are the most characteristic presenting lesions and are reminiscent of the acral vesicles in gonococcemia. Hoever, maculopapular, petechial, or purpuric rashes may also occur [JAMA Derm 2016;152;723].
Intravenous penicillin is the usual first-line treatment.
Clin. Microbiol. Rev 2007 vol. 20 no. 1 13-22
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