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June 2, 1945

INCIDENCE OF RAT BITES AND RAT BITE FEVER IN BALTIMORE

Author Affiliations

BALTIMORE

From the Psychobiological Laboratory, Phipps Psychiatric Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

JAMA. 1945;128(5):324-326. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860220006002
Abstract

Wild rats, even more than any domesticated animals, enjoy very intimate living arrangements with man. They can live in the same house, share the same beds, eat the same foods, carry the same internal and external parasites, suffer from the same diseases and plagues. Man has made numerous unsuccessful efforts to terminate this close relationship and has at all times manifested a great distaste for any physical contact with these companions, either dead or alive. Rats on the other hand are less discriminating, even seeking contact with man and treating him much as they do the dying or dead members of their own species— running over him, licking him, biting him and finally trying to eat him.

The latter aspect of the rat's relationship to man has not received much serious attention. This paper, therefore, deals with the frequency with which rats bite man, the circumstances under which they bite

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