Sat, Sep 08, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Pet mouse bite leaves man, 36, at death’s door

By Yang Ching-ching and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Mr Kao poses with his pet mouse in Greater Kaohsiung on Thursday.

Photo: Yang Ching-ching, Taipei Times

A 36-year-old man surnamed Kao (高) almost died after being bitten by his pet mouse.

According to Kao, he and his elder brother like to keep pets and they have raised cats, dogs and even rabbits, even though he has many allergies.

The mouse, named “Siaobu” (小布), was bought by his elder brother a year ago, Kao said on Thursday.

Kao said that on July 14 he was letting Siaobu crawl across his hands when the mouse suddenly dug its teeth into his finger and did not let go.

Ten minutes after the bite he started to vomit, had difficulty breathing and was experiencing something like shock, Kao said, adding that he had to crawl out of the room and get his family to help.

After being brought to the hospital, Kao was diagnosed with anaphylactic shock and was hospitalized after being given oxygen, fluids and a tetanus vaccination. It took two days before the swelling and redness subsided.

According to dermatologist Wu Ching-ying (吳青穎) at the Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-ho Memorial Hospital, anaphylactic shock can be triggered by medicine, vaccines, contact with latex, insect bites, food, blood transfusions and immunotherapy.

Though hospitals perform blood tests for allergens, many allergens are not listed in standard checkups, Wu said, citing Kao as an example, who had been diagnosed with over 10 allergies, but as the saliva of his pet mouse had not been listed in the standard checkup, it was only until after he had gone into shock that they knew Kao was allergic to the substance.

According to Kao, the mouse had nibbled at his finger in the past, but had never actually bitten him.

Despite his near-fatal experience, Kao said he did not blame the mouse, and he and his brother intervened when their family members wanted to “kill the vermin.”

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