A 34 year old woman has died suffering from ‘rat bite fever’ after being bitten by her pet rat.
The young woman identified as Simone Stapley, was bitten on her finger by her rat but did not seek medical help despite signs of infection. The woman died 5 days later on November 8, last year after the rat bite had caused her to develop ‘rat bite fever’.
According to inquest, when the finger got infected, the mother-of-one spoke to an NHS 111 operator, but ignored calls to go to her doctor. However, the condition of Ms Stapley from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, deteriorated and she was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England on November 7, where she died a day later, of a heart attack.
The Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter has said more people should be aware of the dangers of not seeing treatment for ‘rat bite fever’.
Rat bite fever is transmitted to humans through a bite wound or by contact with open skin by rodents carrying the bacteria.
It can easily be treated by a course of antibiotics, but if nothing is done, it can develop into a serious illness and prove fatal.
The symptoms include: fever, vomiting, headaches and muscle pain.
Complications of the fever can lead to infections of the lungs, liver and heart and around one in ten people with the infection die.