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Haverhill Fever

more about Haverhill Fever


Rat bite fever or sodoku

  • This is an infection resulting from exposure to rats.  Rat bite is the most common form of transmission, but other rat-contaminated substances can also transfer the disease to humans.
  • Rarely, other animals may serve as carriers of the infectious agent.

  • Often occur within one week
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pains
  • Rash often develops in the hands and feet.
  • Sodoku defines an open-crusted sore that develops around the bite.  The infectious agent in this case is the Spirillum minus.
  • Infection often resolves on its own without treatment.
  • Mild symptoms may periodically return for months if left untreated.

  • Streptobacillus moniliformis and Spirillum minus are organisms that can cause rat bite fever.

  • History of bite or exposure to rodents and rats
  • Medical exam:
    1. Fever
    2. Rash
    3. Sore
  • Tests:

- May include blood tests, coughed-up phlegm, or urine samples to rule out other types.


  • Rats and rodents
  • Animal handlers
  • Veterinarians
  • Laboratory workers

  • In some cases, antibiotics are prescribed (e.g., penicillin).
  • Tylenol for pain and fever
  • Fluid and rest as needed
  • Update your tetanus vaccination
  • After a bite, clean the area with soap and water. 
  • Rabies infection may also occur from rat bites.  Rabies is a fatal disease if not treated.  See the section on Rabies for a more detailed explanation.

  • Contact your doctor immediately.

  • Other infections
  • Rabies (mild form)
  • Q Fever -- exposure to farm animals




more about Haverhill Fever


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