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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
Steve Shvartsblat, Resident Physician, 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1220, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: March 11, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division