It has long been known that the bite of a rat may be followed by a recurring fever. In the orient such a syndrome has been recognized for centuries and has been called sodoku. The recovery of more than one type of organism from patients having a fever after a rat bite has led to considerable confusion. When an infecting agent has been recovered from patients so stricken, it has usually been one of two organisms: In the majority of instances Spirillum minus (Spirochaeta morsus muris) has been thought to be causative. From a few patients, however, an entirely different organism, Haverhillia multiformis (Streptobacillus moniliformis, Streptothrix muris ratti), has been recovered.
Although it might be expected that the clinical picture would vary according to the infecting agent responsible, such a clinical differentiation has not yet been clearly established. Instead, as each new case has been reported, the author has usually
ALLBRITTEN FF, SHEELY RF, JEFFERS WA. HAVERHILLIA MULTIFORMIS SEPTICEMIAITS ETIOLOGIC AND CLINICAL RELATIONSHIP TO HAVERHILL AND RAT-BITE FEVERS. JAMA. 1940;114(24):2360–2363. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810240014005