Question to the group, especially the infectious disease inclined
colleagues of ours:
The other day we've seen here in our regional pediatric ED a 2 (two) day
old baby after a house rat bite. Yes, that‘s a new one for us! Basically
the fresh baked mother and her baby went upon discharge straight from the
maternity ward to a friends home visiting, where at some point someone
noticed the house rat at the newborns hand. (The baby was in a car seat on
the floor next to them)
By the time the baby presented to our ED – thats right after the incident –
the middlefinger oft he left hand was slightly swollen and red, with what
it seems a superficial abrasion on the lateral nailfold with a little dried
blood on it.
We were hard pressed how to proceed about this case and unfortunately the
ID people oft he regional tertiary care center we contacted, after washing
the wound, wouldnt want to consult without seeing the Baby and asked the
otherwise healthy newborn to be sent to their ED.
Meanwhile the local veterinary authorities rule out that domestic rats from
„reputable breeder“ (?) could transmit rat bite fever.
Instead to sent the kid crosscountry to a busy ED we opted to follow the
newborn and the conditions at home ourselves daily through the visiting
midwife at home and clinical checks at our outpatient clinic. It is day 5
of live, respectively day 4 since the incident and the finger shows only
some minuscule nick oft he cutis in the nailfold. Otherwiese the baby is
doing fine. At this point we do have few questions, and wonder how others
would have gone about this unusual case:
-What about tetanus: is a presumably titer of maternal antibodies enough of
-Can rat bite fever truely be ruled out?
-Would anybody had given a preventive 3 day course of Co-Amoxi as many
propably would have done in an older toddler / child?
-How long to follow the newborn?
-Any other thoughts?
Spital Buelach, Switzerland
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