Man, 76, bitten by toilet rat is hospitalized with organ failure due to bacterial infection

Friday, April 4, 2024
 – A toilet-dwelling rat sent a Canadian man into organ failure and sepsis after sinking its teeth into his hand.

The 76-year-old man was trying to fish the rat out of his toilet when the rodent bit two of his fingers.

He went to the emergency room and received basic wound care and a tetanus booster and was sent home.

But 18 days later, the septuagenarian was back in the ER. He was suffering from a number of symptoms including fever, headaches and abdominal pain that had been ongoing for three days, according to a report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

His heart rate was high, his blood pressure low and his kidneys were damaged, according to medical tests. He had signs of multi-organ dysfunction and sepsis and was admitted to the intensive care unit.

While his bite wound had mostly healed, doctors suspected it could have something to do with his deteriorating condition.

They ran blood and urine tests and found the man had leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that is often transmitted to humans by animals like rats and can be fatal in rare, severe cases.

The bacteria is found in the urine of animals and doctors believe that the rat may have had a mouthful of the contaminated urine when he bit the Canadian’s fingers, thus breaking the skin for the bacteria to enter his body, according to the report.

The Canadian man was given treatment, including antibiotics and steroids, and was released from the ICU after three days.

More than 1 million cases of leptospirosis are reported worldwide each year and nearly 60,000 of those end in death.

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