We don’t want to be anywhere near rats for many reasons, but their most dangerous characteristic is their propensity to carry and spread diseases. In fact, rats can spread dozens of diseases and carry parasites that spread their own diseases as well. Let’s take a look at these diseases and the steps you can take to mitigate the risk of falling ill.
The diseases carried by rats
Rats alone are capable of spreading over two dozen diseases to humans, including:
- The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome – a severe respiratory disease that starts off as the flu and progresses to symptoms such as extreme shortness of breath.
- Leptospirosis – a bacterial disease that also manifests similarly to the flu at first, eventually leading to jaundice and red eye.
- The plague – the plague is still around, and it can be spread by rats. It causes rapid-onset fever, weakness, chills, and can eventually lead to pneumonia, swollen lymph nodes and necrotic tissue.
- Rat-bite fever – a disease that results from rat bites, and it can lead to fever, vomiting, rashes, headaches and body pain.
- Salmonellosis – also known as food poisoning, the Salmonella bacteria is picked up as rats interact with spoiled food.
- Tularemia – an illness that can lead to ulcers, chest pain and inflammation.
On top of that, rats can transmit the West Nile virus, Lyme disease and babesiosis through their parasites.
How the diseases are spread
Rats can spread diseases in several ways. To start, they can spread diseases through touch. For example, if a rat rummages through trash and picks salmonella on its fur, it will then spread the bacteria to any surface it touches, including food. Rats will also spread diseases through their urine and feces, which is why it’s important to wear protective gear when cleaning up after a rat. Finally, rats can spread diseases through the parasites that they carry.
Getting a rat infestation under control as soon as possible
Rats are very dangerous pests, which is why it’s important to get them under control right away. However, DIY efforts won’t really cut it, and it is often the case that they lead to an incomplete removal. Instead, it’s best to work with a professional pest control company.
Contact us today if you have any questions about the threats posed by rats, or if you have a rat infestation in your home that needs to be removed.