Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

10 Year Old Boy Killed By Pet Rat

A family is suing a major pet store chain after their son died from a bacterial infection they say he contracted from his pet rat.

The medical examiner’s office ruled the cause of death was streptobacillus moniliformis infection, otherwise known as rat-bite fever.

The infected rat was purchased at a pet supply store by the boy’s grandmother. They took the rat home and about two weeks later, the boy woke up in severe pain with a fever and stomach problems. He was also pale, lethargic and could barely walk, according to the lawsuit. The boy died the next day.

According to the lawsuit, the rat did appear to be safe. However, the lawsuit claims the pet supply store should have known about the rodent’s health and that they did not adequately test for the disease. The lawsuit claims that negligence led to the boy’s death, which has caused his parents emotional and economic hardship. They also claim that the retailer failed to post adequate warnings about the potential risks, especially for children.

The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) tell us that people can get rat-bite fever from bites or scratches from infected rodents, such as rats, mice or gerbils. A person may even contract the disease by just handling an infected animal. It may also be contracted by consuming drinks or food contaminated with the bacteria. The disease is not spread from person to person.

According to the CDC, rat-bite fever is rarely fatal and it can be treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin.

The people who are most at risk for this disease are those who have pet rats, work with laboratory rats, work in pet shops or those who live in rat infested buildings. The CDC recommends that you should always wear rubber gloves when handling rats or cleaning cages. You should also wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your mouth after being in contact with rodents.

The store that sold the pet rat does post safety information on its website. They warn us that all rats are potential disease carriers. They go on to say, “Pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for a rat and should consider not having a rat as a pet.”

Termite Terry would also like to remind parents of the importance of educating their families about proper animal safety. He remembers the story of a parent who caught a wild squirrel and put it in a cage, only to have a young child stick his finger in there and get bit. This child also died. You need to be very careful when handling wild animals.

Termite Terry also wants to remind everyone of how important it is to keep wild mice and rats out of your home. Do you need help with a rodent problem? Call our office at (949) 631-7348 and we’ll be happy to assist.