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What Diseases can Rats Cause?

Everybody knows that rats are unsanitary and can cause harmful, or even deadly diseases. Undomesticated rats and other wild rodents are famous for their lack of cleanliness, however, it is less commonly known what diseases specifically rats carry and how they spread to humans. Here are some diseases you can pick up from a rat, and some tips for keeping rats out of your home.

Diseases Rats Spread

There are tons of diseases rats are able to cause, but here are some of the most frequent diseases you’re likely to get from a rat, especially in the Americas.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome can be received by breathing in or touching rat urine or feces, and can also be spread by bites. This disease causes major and sometimes lethal respiratory problems in people infected with the virus. There’s no cure for this disease, but intubation and oxygen therapy increases odds of survival.


Leptospirosis is caused by rats across the world, and a person can become infected with it by direct contact with rat urine/droppings, or by consuming food or water with rat urine/droppings mixed in. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can cause liver and kidney failure, meningitis, and possibly death. This disease is treated with antibiotics.


More commonly known as salmonella, salmonellosis often affects people with compromised immune systems like infants, the elderly and aids patients. Symptoms include fever, chills, abdominal pain and diarrhea. You can get this disease by ingesting food or water contaminated by rat droppings.

Rat-Bite Fever

Finally, rat-bite fever is caused, as the name suggests, by getting bitten or scratched by a rat that carries this disease. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, muscle pain, headaches and rashes, and can be treated by antibiotics like leptospirosis.

How to Prevent a Rat Infestation

Keeping rats and other rodents out of your house can be a challenge, but it’s very important for your health. Make sure you:

  • Prevent access from the outside
  • Clean up all crumbs and standing sources of water
  • Set up rat traps and bait stations in and around your house

If you already have a rat infestation, you may need to call professionals to have them exterminated.

Rats are not only unpleasant house guests, they are also dangerous. Every year people die from the diseases spread by rats, so if these rodents are in your home, get them removed as soon as possible. For more information, or to receive quality pest control services, reach out and our team of professionals will help you right away.

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