What Diseases Do Rats And Other Rodents Carry?

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Can Rats and Rodents Spread Disease?

There’s no doubt about it: rats and rodents can cause all sorts of trouble in your home. They’ll chew holes through walls and insulation, dig through your kitchen cupboards, and make a mess of things everywhere they go. Rodents are a real nuisance.


But it doesn’t stop there. Did you know that rats and rodents can spread diseases, too? That’s why rodent control is so important in the event of an infestation. If you have rats or other rodents in your home and you’re concerned about disease, we recommend working with a rodent control professional like Home Pest Control.

Are you wondering what pathogens rodents and rats can spread? Keep reading to find out.


How Do Rats and Other Rodents Spread Disease?

If you’re dealing with a rodent infestation, it’s important to understand how rats and rodents spread disease in addition to knowing the actual diseases that they can spread.

There are a number of possible vectors for pathogens coming from rats or rodents. Handling them directly (whether alive or dead) can expose you to contaminants, as can coming into contact with their urine, feces, or saliva. Rodents have a nasty habit of leaving their droppings throughout your home, making it challenging to avoid potential disease exposure. Rat bites are another major source of infection, as are bites from fleas, ticks, and other insects that have fed on a disease-carrying rodent. 


What Diseases Do Rats & Rodents Spread?

Now that we understand how disease is spread, let’s take a look at six common infections acquired from rats and rodents. Keep in mind that if you believe you might be suffering from any of the symptoms below, it’s important to seek medical attention.


Hantavirus is a dangerous disease with no cure or specific treatment available. It can be spread to humans through direct contact with feces or urine. It can also be acquired as an airborne pathogen if rodents are present in your home. Symptoms of hantavirus can include fatigue, fever, aches and pains, and headaches. If the virus progresses, it can eventually cause abdominal issues. Hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or HPS, resulting in acute respiratory issues that can necessitate admission to an intensive care unit. 


Unlike hantavirus, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. It’s commonly acquired as a result of exposure to infected water. Symptoms can include headache, fever, chills, vomiting, muscle aches, and abdominal pain, among other things.

Rat Bite Fever

As the name implies, rat bite fever is acquired following a bite from an infected rodent. It can also be transmitted as a result of simply handling an infected rodent, or coming into contact with the bacteria through other means. Symptoms of rat bite fever can include muscle pain, fever, rashes, vomiting, and headache. 


We typically think of salmonella as something we get from undercooked chicken or eggs. As it turns out, though, rodents can carry this bacteria, too. Some rodents carry it in their intestinal tract and then deposit it around your home in their droppings. If you have rodents in your kitchen, it’s also possible to consume food that’s been contaminated. Signs of salmonella include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and abdominal pain.

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, or LCMV, is commonly found in house mice. Infection is spread through contact with the saliva or urine of infected rodents. Some people only experience some initial symptoms with the virus, including nausea, headache, and a lack of appetite. In other infected individuals, LCMV can lead to neurological issues that can cause lasting damage.


Tularemia is caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria, and is typically transmitted to humans via a flea or tick bite: a flea or tick first bites an infected rodent, and then bites and infects a human. Tularemia can lead to a skin ulcer at the site of the bite, along with fever, chills, and headache.


Rodent Control with Home Pest Control

It’s clear that rats and rodents can spread dangerous diseases, and that’s why rodent control is so important. Even if your home is rodent free, taking appropriate preventive measures is essential to avoiding an infestation.

If you’re currently suffering from a rodent infestation, it’s a good idea to seek out professional help. Home Pest Control offers affordable, environmentally friendly rat and rodent control services. Contact us today to schedule your first home pest treatment.

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November 15, 2018

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