Diseases Carried by Rats

Rats are viewed by most of us as nasty little pests. They invade our homes and our pantries spreading germs and diseases. Most of us usually shriek and run at the mention of a rat and for good reason. Many diseases carried by rats can be harmful and in some instances fatal to humans. Here we take a look at some of the more common diseases rats can pass on to humans.


  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease. You can get HPS by breathing in dust that is contaminated with rat urine or droppings, coming into direct contact with their urine or droppings or being bitten by the rat. Early symptoms can include fever, fatigue and muscle aches that may also be accompanied by chills, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Four to ten days later, other symptoms appear, which may include shortness of breath or coughing as your lungs fill with fluid. Even the most healthiest people can fall victim to this disease.
  • Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is transmitted through eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine from an infected animal or contact through the skin or mucous membranes with water or soil that is contaminated with the urine of an infected animal. Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms that are often mistaken for other diseases.The time between a person’s exposure and becoming sick is normally 2 days to 4 weeks. You usually get a fever and other symptoms, such as headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, red eyes, jaundice, abdominal pain, rash or diarrhea. You may appear to get better, but round two of the disease is much worse. You may experience kidney or liver failure or even meningitis, which can be fatal if not treated.
  • Rat-bite fever. Rat-bite fever (RBF) is an infectious disease. People can get the disease from a bite or a scratch from an infected rodent, contact with a dead rodent or eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces. Symptoms usually occur within three to ten days but can wait up to three weeks to show up and can include vomiting, rash, muscle aches, joint pain, headaches and fever. Two to four days after the fever a flat, red rash with small bumps may appear on the hands and feet. Then one or more of your joints may become swollen, red, or painful. Anyone who is exposed to the bacteria that causes this disease is at risk of becoming infected.

Rats carry many more diseases, and you do not want to fall victim to any of them. They can wreak havoc on our bodies and immune systems and most have the potential to be fatal, especially if they go untreated. If you see any evidence that there may be a rat infestation in your home, call in the professionals immediately. They know what to look for and how to permanently remove any rats if they happen to be in your home. They can also sanitize or give you the knowledge needed to sanitize any areas the rats have inhabited. It is definitely in your best interest to consult a professional when you fear your house has become infested with rats.

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