Well, I have never had a pet rat. I have no plans to ever do that either. My brother might have had them for pets or for food for his reptiles, I'm not sure. I'm also not sure where he got them or if he ever got bitten by one. But apparently there is a bacterial infection you can get when handling rats, if they do in fact bite you.
A family of a child bitten by a rat bought from one of the Petco stores is opening a lawsuit claiming that the rat was purchased from them and they want them to take responsibility for it. Not only was the ten year old bitten, but he also died from the bite. That's so sad either way you look at it. The lawsuit surely won't bring the boy back but what Petco had to do with the rat biting the child I'm not sure. Are they supposed to do something with rats so they don't bite people who buy them? Or not sell rats who might give anyone a bacterial infection? Those are the questions that I would most be concerned with in this rare case of a deadly rat bite infection. They are simple questions I have and there is probably much more to the control of the disease of the rats, but perhaps things can be prevented by simply just not having rats as pets or giving the necessary precautions of how to properly handle rats in general.
The child's Grandmother must feel the worst because she happened to purchase the rat for the boy so his female rat could "get married". She probably never knew this could happened with a rat bite. I would feel like I killed the child, personally even if the rat was the critter who bit him. I personally don't blame anyone, not even the rat. It was just a very unfortunate situation. The child could have even had a weakened ammune system already, in which case no one should take on a rat as a pet with that. This child shouldn't have died this way. Rat bite fever is something new to me. How many others didn't know about it?
Photo was found at Morguefile and not the "suspect rat" in the story (I know, that was cheezy. No pun intended.) I thought it would be less scary to people who do not like rats in general to post.