Transmission

How is Rat-Bite Fever Spread?

There are several ways that people can get RBF:

  • Through bites or scratches from rodents carrying the bacteria. The bacteria can enter the body directly through a bite wound, open skin, or mucous membranes such as in the eyes, nose, or mouth
  • When handling rodents carrying the bacteria or through contact with their saliva, urine, or droppings
  • Through contact with surfaces that are contaminated with the bacteria. The bacteria can enter the body through open skin, such as cuts or scrapes, or mucous membranes such as in the eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Consuming food or drinks that have been contaminated with droppings or urine from a rodent carrying the bacteria

RBF is not spread from one person to another.

Image of baby mice.

RBF can be a serious or even fatal disease. See your doctor right away if you have any of the signs or symptoms of RBF.

In addition to RBF, rodents can spread other diseases to people.