Fatal Rat-Bite Fever in a Child — San Diego County, California, 2013
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Fatal Rat-Bite Fever in a Child — San Diego County, California, 2013

  • Published Date:

    Dec 19 2014

  • Source:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014; 63(50):1210-1211.
  • Language:
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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    In August 2013, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency was notified of a fatal case of rat-bite fever (RBF) in a previously healthy male, aged 10 years, who owned pet rats. Two days before his death, the patient experienced rigors, fevers, vomiting, headaches, and leg pains. His physician noted a fever of 102.6°F (39.2ºC), documented a normal examination, diagnosed viral gastroenteritis, and prescribed anti-nausea medication. During the next 24 hours, the patient experienced vomiting and persistent fever. He was confused and weak before collapsing at home. Paramedics reported the patient was unresponsive and had dilated pupils; resuscitation was initiated in the field and was continued for >1 hour after arrival at the emergency department but was unsuccessful. A complete blood count performed during resuscitation revealed anemia (hemoglobin 10.0 g/dL [normal = 13.5-18.0 g/dL], thrombocytopenia (platelets 40,000/µL [normal = 140,000-440,000/µL]), leukocytosis (white blood cells 17,900 cells/µL [normal = 4,000-10,500/µL]) with 16% band neutrophils; the patient also had evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation. No rash or skin breakdown was noted. Lung, liver, and epiglottis tissue collected postmortem was positive for Streptobacillus moniliformis DNA by polymerase chain reaction.
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