Asthmatic’s death laid to hamster bite

A man in his 40s from Saitama Prefecture fell into a coma after he was bitten on the finger by his pet hamster in February and subsequently died, his doctor has said.

The man, who was asthmatic, fell into anaphylactic shock, — a life-threatening allergic reaction — after being bitten.

While such tragedies are rare, “those who have allergies, and veterinarians, need to be on guard,” Kazuya Kiyota, a doctor at Saitama Red Cross Hospital who treated the man, said Monday.

Since 1995, 17 people in Japan have suffered from anaphylactic shock after being bitten by pet rodents. One remains in a coma. The man in Saitama is believed to be the first person to die.

He bred hamsters over the past several years and had suffered several bites. In February, he was found unconscious by his family and they brought him to the hospital. But he had a heart attack before he arrived.