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Fatal rat bite fever in a pet shop employee.
Shvartsblat S; Kochie M; Harber P; Howard J
Am J Ind Med 2004 Apr; 45(4):357-360
Background: Rat bite fever is a zoonotic disease that has been described in laboratory personnel as well as the general population. Methods: A 24-year-old male pet shop employee contracted the disease through a minor superficial finger wound on a contaminated rat cage. The disease progressed from a flu-like illness to endocarditis involving first the aortic valve and then the mitral valve and septum. Despite aggressive therapy including two surgical procedures, the patient died from sepsis and multi-organ system failure 59 days after initial injury. Results: This is the first reported case of rat-bite fever (RBF) in a pet shop work setting. Conclusions: Zoonotic infections may present a significant hazard to workers handling animals. Education on hazards of animal contact and other preventive measures are needed in small places of business like pet shops.
Zoonoses; Infection-control; Infectious-diseases; Retail-workers; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Cardiovascular-disease; Heart; Author Keywords: rat-bite fever; endocarditis; Streptobaccillus moniliformis; zoonotic infections; pet stores
Steve Shvartsblat, Resident Physician, 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1220, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
University of California, School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division