Hamster Bites & Human Disease

Written by rena sherwood
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Hamster Bites & Human Disease
Hamsters prefer biting food, not people. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Anita Martinz)

Hamsters can catch illnesses from people. Likewise, people can catch some illnesses from hamsters. While it's possible for people to get illnesses from hamster bites, the odds of a human catching any kind of illness or disease from a hamster bite are very rare.

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Disease Types

According to "The Laboratory Hamster and Gerbil," human diseases that can pass from hamster to person through a bite include rabies, tularaemia and the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

Other Disease Types

Michigan Technological University points out two rodent diseases that can live in hamster saliva, but are usually seem more in rats: rat-bite fever and hantavirus infection.

People at High Risk

The editors of "Critters USA" magazine warn that pregnant women, people with immunity problems and anyone over 80 or under 3 years old are most likely to get sick from a hamster bite.

Consideration

Clean and disinfect any bite wound from a hamster or other animal. Otherwise it may become infected from bacteria living on human skin, or from dirt and invading bacteria getting into the wound.

Prevention

Only handle hamsters when they are awake and active, or else they may bite. Clean your hands after handling a hamster. If a hamster seems ill, handle it as little as possible.

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