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Boy’s Father Speaks Out — Family Is ‘Destroyed’ By Rat Bite Tragedy

A family in San Diego, California is still attempting to come to terms with an unthinkable tragedy. Aidan Pankey, 10, became mysteriously ill not too long after the family purchased a pet rat from Petco. A trip to the doctor proved fruitless, as the boy simply got worse and worse before he passed away. As AWM shares, the boy had contracted streptobacillus moniliformis infection from the rodent, which is more commonly known as rat bite fever.

Curiously, the boy had never shown any signs or indications that he had been bitten by the rat. Nonetheless, mysterious flu-like symptoms crept up on him, and the doctor assumed it was just that. Unfortunately, Aidan got progressively worse and couldn’t even stand up. The family had to call 911 to get some help, but it was too late. He passed away, and the family was left devastated and searching for answers.


Turns out that he didn’t have the flu. Aidan had contracted the disease from the rat, which can reportedly be transmitted just by handling an infected animal. The family has brought suit against Petco for essentially selling damaged goods.

“[Petco] had knowledge that its customers were contracting rat bite fever from those rats and getting very, very sick. Petco knew at this time that rat bite fever causes death and did not put it in the warnings,” said attorney Bibianne Fell.