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5 Diseases Rats Carry

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Rats are more likely to sneak into your home during the winter months and can carry a lot of different diseases. If you become infected with one of these illnesses, you can experience a lot of unpleasant symptoms and may require hospitalization. Here are five diseases rats carry:


Hantavirus is one of the most deadly viruses rats carry, and it is quite easy to catch. According to WebMD, the most common ways people contract this disease is by breathing in dust contaminated with rat feces or from rat urine. Common symptoms of this disease include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, muscle aches and chills. If the disease progresses into the later stages, patients can experience shortness of breath. There is no specific treatment for this disease, but it is very important to receive intensive care as soon as symptoms appear. You can reduce your risk of catching hantavirus by putting pet food away immediately after use, cleaning up spilled food right away and storing food in metal containers, as mice and rats will be less attracted to your house.

Rat Bite Fever

Caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis or Spirillum minus bacteria, rat bite fever can be contracted through urine or mouth, eye and nose fluids from an infected rat. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, symptoms of this infection include a rash, joint pain, fever and swollen lymph nodes. If this disease is treated early, it can usually be cured with antibiotics. However, if rat bite fever is not tended to right away, it can lead to infection of the heart valves, abscesses of the brain and inflammation of the tendons.


Salmonellosis is another disease that rats carry. You can catch this illness by eating food that has been contaminated with infected feces or touching bedding that has been contaminated. If you get infected with salmonellosis, you can experience stomach problems like diarrhea and cramps. It is possible to make a full recovery from this disease, but if you have a severe case of salmonellosis, it can get into your bloodstream and cause major complications. It can lead to death if you are not hospitalized promptly.


Also referred to as Wei's disease, leptospirosis is passed on through rat urine, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Early symptoms of the disease include a fever, chills, vomiting and a rash. If this illness progresses into the second phase, you can experience jaundice, stomach pain, red eyes and kidney or liver failure. If you think you have been infected with leptospirosis, it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible.


The plague is also often spread by rats. If a flea bites an infected rat and then bites your skin, you can catch the disease. If you have the plague, you will experience a sore throat, stiff neck, body aches, fever, shortness of breath, constipation, vomiting and chills. According to WebMD, you will have to be isolated from others to avoid spreading the disease. Antibiotics will be administered to help clear the infection. If you are having trouble breathing, you will be given oxygen. Severe cases of the plague can lead to low blood pressure, swelling around the heart and blood infection.

As you can see, rats can pass on several different terrible illnesses. These infections can be very difficult to treat, so it is best to avoid getting them in the first place. If you think there are rats in your home, you should call a pest control company like Fowler Pest Control. A professional has the right equipment and experience to safely get rid of these rodents for good.