Thursday, 19 February 2015

What Types Of Diseases Do Rats Carry

Rats can spread a variety of different diseases to humans.

Not only can rats be a nuisance, but they can also give diseases to those they come in contact with. Rats often invade homes, as they seek out warm areas to live. The rats then chew and gnaw on objects in the home, causing severe damage. They can also spread diseases to those living in the home through the air, their feces and bites. Many of these diseases are rather serious, and some can even be fatal.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, also referred to as HPS, is an infectious virus that can be transmitted to humans. According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases website, both the cotton and rice rats can carry this rare, potentially deadly disease. HPS is spread through a rat's feces, urine or saliva, and humans can contract the disease by breathing in the aerosolized virus.


According to the AA Animal Control website, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is spread by rat urine. Humans can experience a wide variety of symptoms from the disease, including fever, chills, jaundice, vomiting, muscle aches or rashes. If left untreated, leptospirosis can cause kidney damage. In rare cases, leptospirosis can even cause death.

Eosinophillic Meningitis

Rats can carry the disease eosinophillic meningitis. The AA Animal Control website states that the most common cause of this serious disease is from the rat lungworm called angiostrongylus cantonensis. Eosinophillic meningitis is an infection of the brain that causes an increased amount of eosinophils, or white blood cells that are associated with parasitic infections.

Murine Typhus

Spread to humans through rat fleas, murine typhus is an infection that occurs worldwide. Rats that are infested with fleas are often found in humid, tropical climates; however, they are also present in warm, temperate areas, as well. Those who come in contact with infested rats or enter environments in which the rats are present are at risk for developing this infection.

Rat Bite Fever

Rat bite fever is a systemic infection that can affect humans, according to AA Animal Control. This illness is spread to humans when they are bitten or scratched by affected rats. In addition, humans can contract rat bite fever from the ingestion of food that is contaminated with rat feces.

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