Toilet Rat Bite Hospitalizes Canadian Man After Suffering from Severe Bacterial Infection

A toilet rat bite led to the hospitalization of a Canadian man after he suffered from severe bacterial infection, according to a medical case report in January 2024. The 76-year-old man went to the emergency department of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, during the previous winter. The patient also experienced a three-day history of abdominal pain, fever, and headache.

The man was bitten on his two fingers by the rodent when he attempted to remove it, after seeing the small mammal in his toilet bowl. Doctors who attended and examined the patient found that he was infected with “severe leptospirosis” which is known as a rat-borne disease, which is carried by other rodents and rabbits. Leptospirosis is responsible for thousands of human deaths globally each year, according to health experts.

Toilet Rat Bites Canadian Man

Toilet Rat Bite Hospitalizes Canadian Man After Suffering from Severe Bacterial Infection [Medical Case Report]
(Photo : Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash)

In the case report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on January 22, a toilet rat bites a Canadian man in an urban setting, resulting in his hospitalization after being inflicted with a severe bacterial infection. Upon arrival to the hospital’s emergency department, doctors performed basic wound care on the patient, who was also given a tetanus booster. However, the man was back in the hospital after 18 days.

According to the report, the man had suffered from fever, headaches, and abdominal pain for several days. Although his finger wounds were almost completely healed during this time, the patient’s blood pressure was low but he was experiencing a very fast heartbeat. Blood tests also showed that the man had damaged kidneys and had a low number of platelets. It was only determined that the patient had leptospirosis following blood and urine analyses.

In relation to the case, the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital team states penicillin is the antibiotics of choice to treat severe leptospirosis (Leptospira interrogans) and rat-bite fever (Streptobacillus moniliformis or Spirillum minus). In the United States, the report states that rat bites account to 1% of the estimated 2 million animal bites annually, with victims often being children.

Also Read: Police Rescues a Harmless Big Gray Rat Snake Found in Home’s Toilet in Alabama

Leptospirosis Symptoms

The most common leptospirosis symptoms in humans include chills, headache, high fever, muscle aches, vomiting, abdominal pain, red eyes, and jaundice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Experts warn that if leptospirosis is left untreated, the bacterial disease can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, and even death. While it is acquired from the fluids of infected rodents, it cannot be spread from person to person.

The CDC emphasizes many leptospirosis symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, adding that some infected persons could be asymptomatic or may not show any symptoms at all. In the case of the Canadian man, although being bitten by a toilet rat is unusual, other related bites from rats are still considered as life-threatening, regardless of the setting. In 2017, a 10-year-old died from rat-bite fever after receiving and handling a pet rat from a local pet retailer.

Related Article: Rat Bite Fever: Deadly Rat-Borne Disease is Spreading Quickly in the US

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