People at Higher Risk for RBF
Any person who comes into contact with the bacteria that cause RBF is at risk for becoming sick with the disease. Remember, without early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, RBF can cause severe disease and death. People who may be at greater risk for RBF infection include:
- Those who have pet rats or other rodents in their home
- People who have live or frozen feeder rats or other rodents in their home
- People who have been bitten or scratched by a rat or other rodent
- Those who work with rats or other rodents, such as at animal research laboratories or pet stores
- People who live or spend time in areas with rodent infestations
- Children who have contact with rodents
- Children 5 years old or younger are at higher risk for infection with RBF because their immune systems may still be developing. Additionally, they are less likely to know how often they need to wash their hands, and how to properly do so. Infants and young children may place unclean fingers in their mouths or contaminate common household objects.
- Adults ages 65 and older, women who are pregnant, or those with weakened immune systems who have difficulty fighting off infections (for example, people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ implants, or those taking certain medications such as steroids).