EAST WENATCHEE — Rat Bite Fever has been confirmed in a few Chelan and Douglas county residents and possibly in a Grant County resident who may have been exposed here.
The Chelan-Douglas Health District issued a press release about the illness Friday but offices are closed on Fridays so details on how many cases were not available.
Rat bite fever is a bacterial disease carried by rats and is part of the normal flora of their mouths and noses, according to the press release. Other animals such as mice, gerbils, ferrets, squirrels, cats, especially feral cats and dogs can get infected, and may or may not get sick with rat bite fever, but they may also spread it.
There is no known person-to-person transmission, and it is more commonly seen in children. A bite, scratch, droppings or urine from an infected rodent can transmit the disease. Any food items potentially contaminated by rodents or their droppings should be thrown away. Contaminated water sources and unpasteurized milk have also been considered possible health risks for rat bite fever.
Illness develops within three weeks of the exposure. Initial symptoms include fever, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, nausea, and vomiting and many people develop a rash on their hands and feet one to five days after having a fever. Unlike influenza, there is no cough associated with the illness and it is easily treated with antibiotics.