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February 2014 - Global Women Network

California Family Sues Petco After Child Dies From Rat-Bite Fever Infection

A California family is suing Petco after their 10 year old son died from a bacterial infection he contacted from his pet rat.   The boy took the rat home May 27, 2013, and woke up on June 11 in severe pain with a fever and stomach problems.   He died the next day.  The San Diego family is blaming Petco for the death of their son.



Photo Credit: Gomez Trials Attorney

According to Fox News:


A San Diego family is suing Petco after the death of their 10-year-old son from a bacterial infection they say he contracted from his pet rat.

Attorney John Gomez told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his firm filed the lawsuit Monday in San Diego County seeking an unspecified amount for the suffering endured by the Pankey family, whose son, Aidan, died June 12, 2013, hours after he was rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pains.

The San Diego County medical examiner’s office ruled that the cause of death was streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever, after exposure to an infected rat.

The retailer in a statement expressed its condolences.

“We are deeply saddened by the Pankey family’s tragic loss,” Petco said in a statement. “The health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority, and we take the family’s concerns very seriously.”

The boy’s grandmother purchased the male rat, which Aidan named Alex, because her only grandson wanted a mate for his female rat, Gomez said. The boy took the rat home May 27, 2013, and woke up the night of June 11 in severe pain with a fever and stomach problems. He was pale, lethargic and could barely walk, according to the lawsuit. He died at 1:09 a.m. the next day.

“He was a bright, energetic, friendly, happy kid who actually had a prior rat, who was a female, and he had this idea in his young head of having his female rat get married,” Gomez said.

The lawsuit was not filed until now because attorneys were awaiting the lab results from the federal Centers for Disease Control, which tested the rat to confirm it was infected, Gomez said. The agency could not immediately confirm the results Tuesday.

Gomez said the Pankey family was not giving interviews, but they are devastated by the death of their only son and want to raise awareness among parents.

“It’s a means to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Gomez said of the lawsuit. “Apparently there was some breakdown in procedures. They want tighter controls.”

According to the lawsuit, the rat appeared safe. But the lawsuit says Petco should have known about the rodent’s health and did not adequately test for the disease. It also says that negligence led to the boy’s death, which has caused his parents, Andrew Pankey and Vanessa Sauer, emotional and economic hardship, and that the retailer did not post adequate warnings about the potential risks, especially for children.

Petco Animal Supplies Inc. said it is “in the process of investigating these claims and will respond appropriately when we have more information.”

According to the CDC, people can contract rat-bite fever from bites or scratches from infected rodents, such as rats, mice and gerbils, or even just by handling an animal with the disease without a bite or scratch. It can also be contracted by consuming food or drink contaminated with the bacteria. It is not spread from person to person.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are highly effective at treating rat-bite fever, and it is rarely fatal, according to the CDC.

The CDC says those at higher risk of contracting the illness are people with pet rats or who work with rats in laboratories or pet stores, or live in rat-infested buildings. The agency recommends that people who handle rats or clean their cages wear protective gloves, wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their mouths with their hands after being in contact with rodents.

Petco also mentions preventative measures for rat-bite fever in information it posts online and provides in stores. The company warns that all rats are potential carriers and that pregnant women, children under the age of five and people with weakened immune systems should contact their doctor before buying a rat and “should consider not having a rat as a pet.”

Only about 200 cases of rat-bite fever had been documented in the U.S. as of 2004, according to the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University. Scientists believe the disease may be underdiagnosed because it is hard to detect and responds to commonly used antibiotics. But the number of cases, they say, may be increasing, especially among children, with the growing popularity of rats as pets.

Rat Bite Symptoms according to the CDC:

Symptoms and signs of streptobacillary RBF within 3 days:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Rash

If you have symptoms of rat-bite fever after exposure to rats or other rodents, contact your health care provider immediately and let your provider know you have been exposed to rodents.  The doctor will prescribe antibiotics to cure disease.

Question: Does your kid own a pet rat?   Do you think Petco is responsible?

Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Affecting Kids in California

Updated 3/21/14

According to a report by USA Today, doctors have identified about 25 California children suffering from a polio-like virus capable of paralyzing limbs. Neurologists are asking for the public’s help to see if there are any other outbreaks inside or outside of California.  The 25 outbreaks have primarily affected children in the Northern California areas of Palo Alto, San Francisco and neighboring areas.

According to recent recent reports on ABC, the diagnosis has been reported in Moorpark.  The polio-like syndrome is not contagious and is in no way at an epidemic level.  Due to multiple reports it is also being dubbed the, “California polio-like syndrome”.

There has been 6 outbreaks within the past 18 months.  In each case, the child suffered paralysis of one or more limbs.

According to the report, the average age of the children affected is 12 years old.  Doctors also do not know what is causing the outbreak.

Boy And Girl Playing And Relaxing

According to USA Today:

A mysterious polio-like syndrome has affected as many as 25 California children, leaving them with paralyzed limbs and little hope of recovery.

“What’s we’re seeing now is bad. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. It’s like the old polio,” said Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

The first known case appeared in 2012. Sofia Jarvis in Berkeley began to experience wheezing and difficulty breathing. The 2-year-old spent days in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Oakland. Doctors thought she had asthma.

On a follow-up visit, her mother Jessica Tomei, 37, realized something else was wrong.

“As we were leaving the doctor’s office, I noticed that she went to grab something with her left arm and she stopped, midway,” Tomei said.

Eventually Sofia was brought to Van Haren’s clinic with “a unique set of symptoms.” She was treated with steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, used to reduce the severity of infections by giving the body antibodies to protect against bacteria and viruses. “None of it helped,” said Van Haren, a neurology professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“He told us right away that the prognosis was really poor and that she’s not going to get better,” Tomei said.

The diagnosis proved correct. Today, at age 4, Sofia’s left arm is paralyzed and she has some weakness in her left leg as well as slight breathing issues.

Still, parents shouldn’t panic. “This is really very rare,” Van Haren said. “But we are asking any families who notice a sudden onset of weakness to see their doctors immediately. Their doctors should contact the California Department of Public Health.”

Researchers want doctors and parents to be on the lookout for cold-like symptoms and with a sudden onset of weakness in the limbs.  Parents if you notice these symptoms contact your doctor immediately!


For additional information about non-polio enteroviruses visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Question:  Are you aware of the outbreak? Does it concern you?

Things To Do This Weekend | Inland Empire Weekend Events 2/21/14-2/23/14

Have you recovered from Valentine’s Day weekend & President’s Day weekend?  This week we are offering suggestions that are great for families and couples to enjoy in the Inland Empire.    There is just a special magic in the air during this time of year when we can just hang out as a family.   We’re pretty excited about AMC’s announcement, Tea & Tiaras, Spring Carnival & more!  We’d also like to welcome Rockin’ Baby Boutique to the Inland Empire neighborhood.


  • Snow Summit:  February 21-22, 2014. Take the family to Snow Summit for some family fun or head over late afternoon for Snow Summit Night Riding.  Join other night riding enthusiasts  for a weekend of Night Riding from 3-9:30pm.  (Big Bear, CA)
  • Riverside Dickens Festival:   February 22-23, 2014. The Riverside Dickens Festival, a literacy event was established in 1992.  The event promotes literacy, provides educational entertainment, and expand awareness of social similarities between Victorian times and the present.  There will musical acts, a military parade, vendors and  over 150 costumed performers portraying characters from Dickens novels.  This is a great event for families! (Riverside, CA)
  • AMC Best Picture Oscar Nominee Movie Showcase:  Saturday, February 22, 2014. AMC Theatres is  offering an option to catch up on the Oscar Nominee movies! The AMC Best Picture Showcase is back.  AMC is  playing all nine Best Picture nominees in this two-day event and see Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave.  This sounds like a FANtastic date for couples who love the movies! (Inland Empire)
  • Spring Carnival:  Saturday, February 21-23, 2014.  It’s time for the annual Spring Carnival! Head to Dos Lagos this weekend for some fun for the whole family! Below are the times it’s open! (Corona, CA)
  • Tea & Tiaras:  February 15- October 2014. Do you have an  aspiring princesses between the ages of 3 and 12 years old?  Join the Mission Inn for a fun Tea & Tiaras.   Enjoy a cup of afternoon tea with your little princess.  The princess will start her day off with a sparkling Apple Cider welcome and a Princess Afternoon Tea.   Enjoy  sandwiches, scones with jam, hot cocoa, orange floats, and a range of princess-friendly delicate pastries and sweet confections.  (Riverside, CA)
  • Rockin’ Baby Boutique Grand Opening:  Saturday, February 22. Come on down and check Rockin’ Baby Boutique out! Goodie bags will be handed out to the first 100 guests. 1 bag per household. RSVP here.  We absolutely love their outfits! (Lake Elsinore, CA)
  • Ebano – A Photographic Exhibit:  Friday, February 21 & Saturday, February 22. The “Ebano” exhibit by Mexican photographer Nicolas Triedo at the National Orange Show Art Gallery in San Bernardino celebrates African heritage in Mexico. The exhibit is in Inland Empire until March 1, 2014. (San Bernardino, CA)
  • Chino Valley CPR Challenge:  Saturday, February 22 10am-2pm. The Chino Valley Fire District and Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center are teaming up to host the Chino Valley CPR Challenge on Saturday February 22nd at the Shoppes in Chino Hills from 10am to 2pm. Stop by and learn hands-only CPR!. (Chino Hills, CA)
  • Street Painting Workshop:   Saturday, February 22, 2014.   Do you have an aspiring young artist in your home? Come to the Street Painting Workshop and learn how to transfer a  2D picture to a large format on the asphalt. Students will learn  sketching, blending, and detail tricks to producing a street painting mural. Students will use a palette of 24-48 colors depending on design, using chalk pastels.  Students can bring their own supplies if desired. Perhaps we’ll see your artist at this years Street Festival! (Temecula, CA)
  • Let The Fire Burn: Join UC Riverside Arts department for movie screening.  Let the Fire Burn, director Jason Osder brings to life one of the most tumultuous clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.  (Riverside, CA)
  • A Few Good Men:  Broadway hit about the trial of two Marines for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay sizzles on stage. The Navy lawyer, a callow young man more interested in softball games than the case, expects a plea bargain and a cover up of what really happened.  (Temecula, CA)
  • REMNANT: Join UC Riverside Arts department for FREE musical.  REMNANTS is a musical told through slide projections, live music, dance (popping and locking), singing and rapping that explores the challenges faced by adolescent boys as they strive for educational excellence in communities of struggle.  (Riverside, CA)


Inland Moms was created as a Go-To Resource for Modern Inland Empire Moms & Families to connect with each other, share parenting advise, crafting tips and information on local restaurants, businesses, events, products, services & more.

We look forward to supporting our community by sharing our love for Inland Empire.  If you have an event to share, please submit your event to events@inlandmoms.com

President’s Day Holiday Closures

Presidents Day is observed on the third Monday is February.  Today we celebrate the life of our first President George Washington and all American Presidents.


Are you wondering what offices are open or closed during today’s Federal Holiday?

The following public services will be affected:

  • Postal Services:  All Post Offices will be CLOSED; There will also be no mail delivered on Monday, except for Express Mail.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles: All DMV Offices are CLOSED.
  • Libraries: All Libraries are CLOSED.
  • Federal, State & Local Offices: Riverside County, San Bernardino County Public Schools will be CLOSED. Check your local districts.
  • Trash & Recyling: All trash pickup will be delayed by one day.
  • Retail  & Grocery Stores:  Most are OPEN.