Rats and disease


November 8, 2017

Anna WilliamRats invade millions of homes — and are capable of transmitting deadly disease. During a suspected rat infestation inspection, pest management professionals (PMPs) will find them living in attics, basements and warehouses. Rats often raid kitchens, crawl around electrical wires and scratch their way into walls.

  • Rat scratches and bites can trigger the wave of rat-bite fever. Symptoms include fever, skin rashes, vomiting, pain in your muscles and headaches.
  • Rat urine can be held responsible for the spread of leptospirosis, which can cause kidney damage.
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is a viral infection, transmitted through the saliva and urine of rats. This lethal disease has two stages: The first stage presents flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, headache and body pain. The second stage includes meningitis and encephalitis.
  • Black Plague was an epidemic form of bubonic plague in the Middle Ages, killing half of the population of Western Europe. A mild form of plague still exists today.
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is another viral disease hosted by rodents, often caused by inhaling dust that is fouled with rat urine or dropping, and in some cases even direct contact with rats.
  • Salmonella bacteria are carried by rats in their digestive tract. Upon contamination of food or water, salmonellosis can spread among humans.


About the Author

Avatar photo

Anna William is the head of content marketing for NJ Pest Control, Randolph, N.J. Visit them online at https://4njpest.com.

Leave A Comment

  1. Now that it is getting towards the winter months we are getting a lot of calls regarding rodents as we own a pest control company here in the Concord NC area. We have a couple entomologists on staff, and have been educating folks on these exact issues. Great article. Glad I ran across it.