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Rat Bite Fever (RBF)

Rat-bite fever (RBF) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. RBF can cause a serious illness and even death if it is not identified and treated early.


How can I get sick?  

  • Through bites or scratches of an infected* rodent.  
  • Bacteria can enter the body directly through a bite wound, open skin, or through the eyes, nose, or mouth. 
  • By eating food or drinking water that is contaminated* with pee and poop of infected rodents. 
  • By touching surfaces that are contaminated* with the bacteria  

Symptoms in Humans: 

  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal)  

  • Throwing up 
  • Headache 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Joint pain 
  • Rash 
  • Swelling at bite wound

What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Avoid direct contact with infected rodents, places with rodent infestation, or other areas where rodents may be present. 
  • Learn how to properly care for your pets and get routine veterinary care for your pet. 
  • Avoid touching your mouth and face after handling rodents. 
  • Wash your hands properly after handling rodents, their cages, bedding, pee, or poops. 
    • `Proper Handwashing Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub your thumbs, between your fingers and the tops and bottoms of your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel.


  • Infected: When germs get inside of a body, animal, or an organism.  
  • Contaminated: When something becomes dirty with germs.

Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.