Rat-bite fever (RBF) is an acute infectious disease caused by two different bacteria, Streptobacillary RBF is caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis in North America while spirillary RBF or sodoku is caused by Spirillum minus and occurs mostly in Asia. People usually get the disease from infected rodents or consumption of contaminated food or water. Disease has been reported in mice, birds, guinea pigs, and nonhuman primates. The majority of cases are due to the animal's bite. The exact incidence of the disease is unknown. People who keep rats as pets, as well as laboratory technicians and pet shop employees working with rats, are at increased risk.
Symptoms of the streptobacillary form include recurrent fever, rash, and joint pains. The spirillary form causes relapsing fever, rash, and regional lymphadenitis. This condition is diagnosed by detecting the bacteria in skin, blood, joint fluid, or lymph nodes. at-bite fever is treated with antibiotics (penicillin or tetracyclines for 7-14 days). Alternative drugs include ampicillin, cefuroxime, and cefotaxime. Patients should be advised to avoid contact with rats, particularly wild rats and prevent contamination of water and food by rat excrement (feces and urine).