Monday, September 27, 2004
Man dies after pet hamster bites him
SAITAMA -- A middle-aged man died here earlier this year from asthma after he was bitten by his pet hamster, a local hospital said.
In February, the man suffered from an allergic disease called anaphylaxis after the hamster's saliva entered his body when he was bitten by the pet, triggering asthma symptoms, according to the Saitama Red Cross Hospital that treated him.
Anaphylaxis is an allergic disease that occurs when protein or other foreign substances enter one's body multiple times and the immunity system becomes oversensitive, according to experts. The disease quickly paralyzes circulatory organs or respiratory organs.
The man in his 40s, whose name was not disclosed, had been bitten by his pet hamster many times, Kazuya Kiyota, a doctor at the hospital, said.
In February this year, he had a fit of coughing and collapsed after being bitten on the finger by the animal. By the time he was admitted to hospital, his heart and lungs had stopped functioning. He died shortly afterwards.
Doctors conducted an autopsy on the man's body and found that he had a sharp allergic reaction to protein contained in the hamster's saliva.
Even though 17 cases of anaphylaxis caused by pets have been reported across the country since 1995, it is quite rare that such an allergic disease causes death, Kiyota said. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Sept. 28, 2004)"
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