Petco has been sued after a pet rat bit a boy, and the boy died from rat bite fever. The pet rat was said to have tested positive for streptobacillus moniliformis, also known as rat bite fever, Inside Edition reported.
The family has officially sued Petco, who sold them the pet rat in 2013. But when the pet was taken home, it bit the 10-year-old boy. Days later, the boy was suffering severe stomach pains. Hours after taking him to the hospital, the boy was dead.
It was revealed that the boy tested positive for rat bite fever, a rare but fatal infection. According to Inside Edition, rate bite fever is so rare that only 16 people have been confirmed to have contracted the illness between 2001 and 2013. All 16 people were treated and cured from the infection with no issue, making the little boy’s case extremely rare.
Petco told reporters that they have sold roughly five-million rats between 2001 and 2013, and everyone must sign a health hazard paper prior to taking the rats home. The boy’s grandmother signed the health hazard form when she bought him the pet rat.
Petco attorney Kimberly Oberrecht said that this is sad and tragic, but not a unique case for Petco.
“There are risks with owning any pets.”
According to CBS 8, the boy’s grandmother bought the rodent for him just two weeks before he contracted the illness and was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he later died from rate bite fever.
Petco revealed that they buy the rats from a supplier called Barney’s Pets. Although Petco claims that they list the health hazards, the plaintiff’s attorney Bibianne Fell argued that they did not list the warning about rat bite fever where it can be seen by customers.
Rat bite fever is spread by the saliva of rats, therefore they do not need to bite people in order to spread the disease. People who are bitten by rats can also contract tetanus, Orkin reveals.
Some symptoms of rat bite fever are fever, swollen lymph nodes, swelling, muscle aches, headaches, vomiting, and sometimes an ulcer on the bite site. It is very rare for a human to contract rat bite fever.
According to Healthy Children, rat bite fever can also be spread by measles, squirrels, cats, and mice, but is almost always contracted by rats. Rat bite fever can rarely be caused by contaminated milk or food products.
Symptoms of rate bite fever typically take 7-21 days to appear after contracting the disease. Rate bite fever can be cured quite easily, with penicillin for 7-10 days intravenously or by injection. If treatment is provided promptly, most children with rate bite fever completely recover.
CDC revealed that at least two other deaths have occurred due to rat bite fever. A healthy Florida woman, who worked at a pet store, was bitten by a rat just four days before showing up at the hospital with abdominal pain, lethargy, headaches and other symptoms of rat bite fever. After a severe decline in health, she passed away in the ICU.
A 19-year-old woman from Washington was also a victim of rat bite fever. After she was taken to the hospital once her symptoms were reported to emergency services, she unfortunately died by the time she made it to the hospital. Although she did not have any obvious bites, she tested positive for rat bite fever. It was further revealed that the woman had nine pet rats and was a dog groomer.
[Featured Image by TONY DEJAK/AP Images]