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Signs and Symptoms

Image of a women sick.

Symptoms are often different for the two types of RBF:

  • Streptobacillary RBF
  • Spirillary RBF

Streptobacillary RBF Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Rash

Symptoms usually occur 3-10 days after exposure to an infected rodent, but can be delayed as long as 3 weeks. By this time, any associated bite or scratch wound has usually healed.

Within 2-4 days after fever onset, a maculopapular rash may appear on the hands and feet. This rash is identified by flat, reddened areas with small bumps. One or more joints may then become swollen, red, or painful.

Spirillary RBF (also known as Sodoku) Symptoms

Symptoms can vary and often include:

  • Fever (that may occur repeatedly)
  • Development of an ulcer at the bite wound (when applicable)
  • Swelling near the wound
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash (occurs following partial healing of the wound)

These symptoms usually occur 7-21 days after exposure to an infected rodent.

The symptoms associated with Haverhill fever (RBF you can get from consuming contaminated food or water) can differ from those that occur when you get the disease through bites and/or scratches. The most notable differences may include more severe vomiting and sore throat.