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Hypovolaemic shock by rat bites. A paradigmatic case of social deprivation


This report describes an unusual complication of a comparatively common problem of rat bites, causing a near fatal case of hypovolaemic shock. An 8 month old girl was bitten on her head and hands by Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) while sleeping after falling from her parent’s bed. She could not be attended to because of her parents’ alcoholic condition. She was found in hypovolaemic shock. She required ventilatory and haemodynamic support for five days. At late follow up, the child had no medical problem. In this case, evident social risk factors include extreme poverty, poor hygiene, and rat infested environment, which are frequently associated in potential rat bite victims.

  • hypovolaemic shock
  • rat bite
  • Rattus norvegicus
  • child abuse
  • social deprivation

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