Rats do not just eat your food and leave droppings all over the place. They also have the ability to spread a variety of diseases through droppings, urine, parasites, and direct contact. This is why it’s important to take immediate action if you see signs of a rat infestation. The last thing you want is for rats to grow in large numbers on your property because diseases and germs will start to spread exponentially.

Which rat-borne diseases should you be concerned about? How can you stop the pests from invading your home? Here is everything you need to know:

What diseases can rats spread?

Rats can bring pathogens into your home when they enter it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rodents have been known to transmit 35 diseases worldwide to humans. Many of these diseases are caused by rats.

The diseases can be transmitted either directly or indirectly. Direct transmission occurs when people accidentally touch urine, droppings, or rodents that have been infected with a pathogen. These are the most commonly transmitted diseases by rats, according to the CDC:

  • Hantavirus-pulmonary syndrome is a severe form of respiratory disease that causes flu-like symptoms, dizziness and stomach problems, as well as extreme shortness of breath.
  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that causes flu-like symptoms and jaundice.
  • Plague is a disease that causes rapid-onset fever, weakness, and chills. It can also cause necrotic tissue, swelling, and pneumonia depending on the strain.
  • Rat bite fever is a condition that causes fever, vomiting and rash.
  • Salmonellosis, a bacterial infection causing diarrhea and stomach problems, also known as severe food poisoning.
  • Tularemia is an illness that causes fever, sometimes with ulcers, inflammation and chest pain.

Indirect transmission occurs when a rat’s parasites (like mosquitoes and ticks) also bite humans and infect them. The diseases they can transmit indirectly are Babesiosis and Lyme disease.

How can rats spread disease?

Rats can pick up viruses the same way humans do, through touch or ingestion. Because rats often travel and forage in alleyways, garbage cans and sewers they pick up a plethora of dangerous pathogens on their furs and in their bodies.

This is why getting rid of rats as soon as you notice the first signs of an infestation is so important. If you have a rat infestation in the home, or if you have any questions about the dangers posed by these rodents, contact us today.

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