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Rats carry and can transmit many diseases, and you
can read about some of the more common ones that
are endemic to North America in what follows. Rats
can transmit diseases directly, either via their
waste or through direct contact with the animal,
or they can transmit diseases indirectly, via
parasitic agents that feed on all sorts of
animals, including rodents and humans.
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. A virus that
spreads through breathing in contaminated
dust, direct contact with rat urine or
droppings, and more rarely through bite
wounds. Symptoms include: fever, headache,
muscle ache, dizziness, stomach problems,
chills; symptoms such as shortness of breath
and lungs filling with fluid will appear after
a few days. Treatable, but fatal if left
- Leptospirosis. A bacterial diseases that
spreads through contaminated food and water,
or if skin or mucous membrane is exposed to
contact with contaminated water and soil. It
can be asymptomatic. Symptoms are numerous,
including but not limited to: high fever,
headache, muscle ache, chills, vomiting,
yellow skin, red eyes, rash, diarrhea etc.
Left untreated, it can lead to sever
complication, and can be fatal.
- Plague. A bacterial disease that spreads
either through direct contact with an infected
rat or through the bite of an infected flea.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of plague:
bubonic, septicemic, or pneumonic. Endemic to
the western part of the country. Treatable if
caught early. Can lead to extremely serious
illness and death if treatment is not
administrated in time.
- Rat-Bite Fever. An infectious disease that
spreads through contact with a dead rat,
through contaminated food or water ingestion,
or through the bite or scratch of a rat.
Symptoms differ depending on which type of
Rat-Bite Fever is contracted, streptobacillary
or spirillary. Treatable, but fatal if left
- Salmonellosis. A bacterial disease that
spreads through ingesting contaminated food or
water. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, and
abdominal cramps. It usually goes away without
any treatment, but severe dehydration may
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis. A virus that
spreads through breathing in contaminated
dust, direct contact with mouse urine or
droppings, and less frequently through bite
wounds. Symptoms may include: fever, headache,
muscle ache, lack of appetite, nausea,
vomiting. The disease is treatable, with a
mortality rate below 1%.
We can answer the question: Should I ever poison a rodent?
Not all rats carry diseases, I want to be clear on
that, but contact should still be kept at a
minimum. Preventing rats and other vermin from
living, feeding, nesting, and breeding on our
properties is paramount in keeping away from
disease. Once the first signs of rat infestation
appear, measures to eradicate the pest should be
taken immediately and without hesitation. Learn
more on this website about all you need to do to
safely and permanently remove rats from your
property, or look through my nationwide directory
of rat control experts in order to hire a
professional near you who will take care of the
problem. For more information, you may want to
click on one of these guides that I wrote:
does rat removal cost?
- get the lowdown on
to get rid of rats
- my main rat removal
rat trapping photographs
- learn from great examples of rat
jobs I've done.
Read more in my educational guides:
Why do rats have tails?
Why do rats exist?
Diseases caused by rats urine
Do More Rats Live in Urban Areas, or Wild Areas?
What to Do About a Trap-Shy Rat
How to make a rat trap
Rats in the subway
What kind of noises and sounds do rats make when they live in your house?
What do rats sound like?
What Are Some of the Symptoms of a Sick Rat?
Should I Ever Poison a Rat?
How to scare a rat away
How To Get Rid Of Rats Without Killing Them
Will Repellents Get a Rat Out of the Attic?
How Do You Remove a Rat Stuck In a Dumpster?
Where Should I Relocate a Trapped Rat?
Do Relocated Rats Survive?
What Do Wildlife Rehabilitators Do with Rats?
Does Poison Make Rats Thirsty And Die Outside?
Are rats dangerous to cats, dogs, or other pets?
Will A Pest Control Company Remove a Rat?
How to Get Rats Out of a Wall