Rat-bite fever survivor has ‘long recovery ahead’ following surgery in Victoria

Rat-bite fever survivor has 'long recovery ahead' following surgery in Victoria

A Port Alberni woman has survived surgery after contracting a rare illness called rat-bite fever.

Kasey Randall, a mother of two, got the cardiac surgery at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria in March and spent three weeks in hospital.

Thirty-seven-year-old Randall is still getting a daily dose of antibiotics.

“I still am going to have a long recovery ahead of me, considering the damage it did to my liver, my kidneys.”

Randall first shared her story in March about how this past summer she and her family adopted two rats from the Port Alberni SPCA.

A couple of months later one of them bit her.

Randall washed it out and didn’t think much of it, but three days later she ended up in hospital violently ill.

READ PREVIOUS: Port Alberni woman diagnosed with rat-bite fever faces surgery

After one misdiagnosis at the Port Alberni hospital and a rash of tests, weeks later doctors finally determined she had contracted the rare but life-threatening illness known as rat-bite fever.

“I’m really grateful for all the doctors that have figured this out. It took a really long time,” said Randall, who says she’s been told there hasn’t been another case in Canada in years.

During the surgery, doctors installed a synthetic valve that will need to be replaced in about eight years. She may also need a liver transplant depending on how well her recovery goes.

“The liver can repair itself so I’m on a low sodium diet and I’ll try and do my best to take care of my liver properly and hopefully it does rejuvenate itself,” said Randall.

While she is grateful she survived, Randall says she believes her huge health battle could’ve been avoided if she knew the dangers that come with rat bites.

“It’s unfortunate that the BCSPCA doesn’t put it on their webpage anywhere or give you a warning that some of these small animals can potentially carry a fatal bacteria, which I feel is extremely irresponsible,” said Randall.

In a statement the BC SPCA says it’s “…committed to helping potential and new pet guardians have all the information they need, including knowing the risks associated with having a companion animal in their home. We will be reviewing our materials to see if and where changes are needed.”

Randall says she’s only sharing her story to help ensure no one else faces a similar experience.

The Centre for Disease Control recommends seeing a doctor immediately if you’ve been bitten or scratched by a rat.

A rate-bite fever case series analysis of 2010-2016 found higher than expected incidence of rat-bite fever on Vancouver Island.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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