RAT RELATED HEALTH HAZARDS & DISEASES
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS):
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. HPS was first recognized in 1993 and has since been identified throughout the United States. Although rare, HPS is potentially deadly. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection.
|Here is information on some of the diseases caused by rats, as gathered from the Center For Disease Control & Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Murine typhus (caused by infection with R. typhi) occurs worldwide and is transmitted to humans by rat fleas. Flea-infested rats can be found throughout the year in humid tropical environments, but in temperate regions are most common during the warm summer months. Travelers who visit in rat-infested buildings and homes, especially in harbor or riverine environments, can be at risk for exposure to the agent of murine typhus.
Rat-bite fever (RBF):
Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a systemic bacterial illness caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis that can be acquired through the bite or scratch of a rodent or the ingestion of food or water contaminated with rat feces.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium:
As its name suggests, it causes a typhoid-like disease in mice. In humans S. Typhimurium does not cause as severe disease as S. Typhi, and is not normally fatal. The disease is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and generally lasts up to 7 days. Unfortunately, in immunocompromized people, that is the elderly, young, or people with depressed immune systems, Salmonella infections are often fatal if they are not treated with antibiotics.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.
Learn more: Do rats carry rabies?
Eosinophilic meningitis is an infection of the brain occurring in association with an increase in the number of eosinophils,
white blood cells that are associated with infection with worms that penetrate into the body. The organism most commonly
causing eosinophilic meningitis is a rat lung worm called angiostrongylus cantonensis.
For identification purposes, here are some photographs of rat poop, which can contain many of the diseases discussed above. If you want to prevent rat diseases for
yourself and your pets, you may want to consider attic decontamination to remove the pathogens and health risk.
In addition, if you have a rat problem in your house that you want to solve, it is not always easily done. The key is to find out how the rats are getting inside your house, and to seal those holes shut. Then you must trap in exactly the correct manner. This
is the only approach that will ensure complete and permanent removal or rats. Read more about it on my get rid of rats page.
If you need rat or wildlife control services in your hometown, try these service areas:
Los Angeles |
San Diego |
Washington DC |
Fort Lauderdale |
What diseases do rats carry? There are quite a number of rat-borne diseases that can affect humans. Rat bites and scratches for instance can trigger a feverish condition . Rat urine has been known to trigger a disease known as Leptospirosis, a condition that can cause damages to the Kidney and liver.
Most rat-borne diseases can be contacted through the inhalation of pieces of feces, or handling feces and urine. Coming in contact with the skin of rats can also cause certain allergic reactions that can affect the lungs.
Rat is also known to spread a viral infection known as Lymphocytic ChoriomeningitisĚ
also referred to as LCMV, this infection can be transmitted when a human is in contact with the saliva or urine of a rat, or when fleas from the skin of a rat bites a human. In the middle ages, thousands of people were killed as a result of the transfer of diseases through fleas from rats. Rat droppings,
including their food remnants and feces have also been found to trigger allergic reactions in humans, also, the dander and shed hair of rats can also trigger sneezing and other symptoms of allergic reactions in humans.
There are basically two categories of diseases and infections transmitted by rats,
and these are; diseases transmitted by direct exposure to infected rat feces, bites, urine, and secondly the indirectly transmitted diseases transferred through intermediary vectors such as fleas, ticks and mites. The four most prominent rat diseases common in the world today are; Salmonellosis, Rat bite fever,
Hantavirus Pulmonary syndrome (HPS), and Leptospirosis.
Salmonellosis is a form of rat disease that can be contacted through the consumption of water or food that has been contaminated by rat feces or urine. The rat bite fever is predominantly caused by rat bite, scratches or handling an infected rat
carcass. Leptospirosis is a bacteria infection that can be contacted when you swim in a pool that has been contaminated by rat carcass, urine or feces. You are at higher risks of contracting Leptospirosis if you work outdoors or with animals. The HPS disease is a viral infection mainly transmitted by the rice rat
specie. This disease can be spread through a number of ways , and most prominent among these are; through inhalation of dusts containing rat feces or urine, direct contact with rat urine or feces, and through frequent bite from rat.
It is very important to wear a protective mask, as well as gloves and
protective clothing when handling rat carcasses, or when vacuuming and disinfecting a rat infested colony - these precautionary steps will reduce your chances of getting allergic attack or suffering from other bacteria and viral infections caused by rats.
There are a number of diseases associated with the humble rat, and none of them are particularly pleasant. These
diseases can be passed on with the rat itself, in the form of a bite or scratch, but also in the dead bodies left
behind after poisoning has gone wrong, or trapping also, and in the urine and feces.
Depending on where in the world you are, the conditions that can be passed on via rats can prove to be fatal, and we are
going to take a closer look at a few of them right now.
Trichinellosis is a disease that seems to be more common in places such as Thailand, and also underdeveloped countries, than
it is in the United States, but if you travel, you should definitely be aware of it. Another disease that the rat can spread,
you can contract the nematode worm (that causes the condition) by eating undercooked meat, usually pork. There is one particular
dish in Thailand that is well known for containing undercooked pork, and this is a dish that is renowned for passing on
How is the rat responsible for this disease? Rats can carry the worm and pass it on to pigs, and other farm animals that we eat. The
pork comes into contact with the rodent, and may even eat the rodent, and then the pig has the worm, passing on the disease when it is
eaten after not being cooked properly.
Capillariasis is another roundworm problem, and the humble rat is often the host, although humans can be too. Eggs from the worm are left in
soil, water and also food, and when these are ingested, the worm is free to grow and do its thing. The eggs first hatch in the intestines, and
they burrow their way through the intestinal walls until they reach the blood stream. They use this stream to get to the liver, and thatís where
they start to do their damage. The larvae will become an adult in less than a month, usually around three weeks, and they can lay further eggs.
The rat is often the host for this worm, and other animals, foxes, etc. can often become contaminated by preying on infected rats.
There are plenty of worm examples to speak of when looking into the kinds of diseases that rats can carry with them, and you can add Echinococcosis
to that list, as well as Rat Tapeworm. Rat feces is known to carry this worm, and can easily contaminate water and food sources, which are then eaten
by both humans and pets alike.
Toxoplasmosis is another one youíll definitely want to avoid, and this is most certainly the case for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is a rather
common condition, and in the United States alone, it is suspected that over 22% of the population has been infected. Usually, the host of this parasite is
a cat, but rats and other rodents, as well as plenty more small animals, can play the host. It is the feces from the cat that then becomes a problem for humans,
which is just one big reason why you will want to keep your cat away from any rats you come into contact with, as well as you and the rest of your family.
In short, rats can be very dangerous animals, especially in their wild state. Although they probably donít mean to, and they almost certainly donít want to,
they do carry with them a wide range of diseases, some of which can be fatal. Make sure you are protecting your home - is it rat proof? Is your family safe?
For more rat information, visit our rat removal tips page, or for more specific how-to instructions, read the how to get rid of rats page with 6 step-by-step instructions.
If you have a problem with rats above your ceiling in your house, read my rats in the attic guide. The most important part of rat control is sealing shut entry holes into the building, but after
you've done that, you'll want to know how to kill rats humanely to complete the rat control job.
Read more articles about rats:
What are some of the symptoms of a sick rat?
Do rodents like rats feel pain?
Can rats hurt you?
Why do rats die inside houses or attics?
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