Disease and rat-bite fever can result from rat bites and scratches. Rat urine is to blame for the spread of leptospirosis, which can harm the liver and kidneys. It can also be contracted by touching or inhaling scat. Renal and liver failure, as well as cardiovascular issues, are among the complications.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), a viral infectious disease, is spread by rats’ saliva and urine. Some people have long-term effects from lymphocytic choriomeningitis, while others only have temporary discomfort.

The bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Plague,” and its variants were historically among the most dangerous rat-borne diseases. Humans become infected when fleas from rats bite them. Fleas carried by rats are thought to be to blame for the Middle Ages plague that killed millions. From the transmission of bubonic plague to typhus and hantavirus, rat infestations can prove harmful to human health.

Rats also are a potential source of allergens. Their droppings, dander, and shed hair can cause people to sneeze and experience other allergic reactions.

Diseases transmitted by rats are classified into two types: those transmitted directly from rat-infected feces, urine, or bites, and those transmitted indirectly through an intermediate arthropod vector such as fleas, ticks, or mites. While the following diseases or medical conditions are all associated with rats, the majority are not common in the United States.


Diseases Caused by Rats



The Hantavirus, which is most commonly found in the white-footed mouse, cotton rat, and rice rat, is a potentially fatal disease with no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle aches (most commonly in the hips, backs, and thighs), and diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.



The common house mouse is the most common host for the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, or LCMV. LCMV usually manifests itself in two stages. Symptoms of the first stage include nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, and a loss of appetite. The second stage is primarily neurological in nature, with the possibility of meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis occurring.



Yes, you read that correctly. The same plague that killed millions during the Middle Ages could be lurking beneath your floorboards and behind your walls. The most basic form of plague could be as close as a bite from an infected flea. The various types of plague (there are three: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic) are all caused by the same bacterium: Yersinia pestis. The various types are distinguished by the level of the body to which the plague has spread: the immune system, the blood system, and the lungs. Symptoms vary according to the type. To treat illness and possibly death, prompt medical treatment with antibiotics is required.



Salmonella bacteria are carried by some rodents in their digestive tract, making any contact with rodent waste, particularly the consumption of contaminated food, potential risk of contracting salmonella.

Chills, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the symptoms.



No, this isn’t the most recent dance craze. Rat Bite Fever is transmitted when a person is bitten by an infected rodent, handles an infected rodent (even if no bite or scratch occurs), or consumes the bacteria in some form.

Fever, skin rash, headaches, vomiting, rash, and muscle pain are some of the symptoms.



Tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis and is most commonly found in rodents, rabbits, and hares. Tularemia is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick or deer fly, or through the handling of an infected animal. Tularemia, which has been reported in almost every state in America, can be a life-threatening illness, though most cases can be treated with antibiotics. Diseases Spreaded Indirectly by Rats

Plague: This disease is carried by rats and transmitted by fleas while they are feeding on blood. Domestic rats are the most common plague reservoir.

Colorado Tick Fever is a viral disease spread by the bite of a tick that has consumed a blood meal from a bushy-tailed woodrat.

Cutaneous Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of an infected sandfly that has fed on a wild woodrat.



Some rat species, such as the cotton rat and rice rat, are known hantavirus carriers. Norway rats and roof rats are not known hantavirus transmitters. Victims may become incapacitated and have difficulty breathing. Humans become infected with hantavirus when they inhale airborne particles from rodent droppings, urine, or disturbed carcasses.

The virus’s initial symptoms can be confused with the flu. Patients then experience breathing difficulties, which can be fatal if not treated effectively and promptly.


All mouse feces, nest materials, and dead rodents must be removed from the home to avoid hantavirus. To avoid anything becoming airborne, thoroughly spray suspected areas with disinfectant before sweeping. Handle rodent carcasses or droppings with gloves, and a respirator with working cartridges must be worn. Following an infestation, buildings should be aired out. Hantavirus has not been found in all rodents. The most common transmitters are deer mice, cotton rats, rice rats, and white-footed mice. However, when dealing with rodents or rodent infestations, everyone should exercise caution and contact a pest control professional.


While the pitter-patter of little feet is a welcome sound in many homes, one could argue that the type of feet associated with that sound is directly correlated with the happiness scale. Specifically, the species. We’re talking about rodents, people!

Rats and other rodents are unwelcome guests in millions of homes across the United States. While the presence of these pests can affect an individual’s or family’s emotional well-being, the health risks of having an unchecked rodent population in a home are far more dangerous than one might initially believe.

Rats and rodents are known to carry a variety of diseases that can cause serious illness and, in some cases, death.


To fully comprehend the dangers of rodents in the home, one must first grasp the fundamentals of disease transmission.

Diseases are typically transmitted via several routes:


Contact our trained ATAP pest control professionals at (708) 980-0092 for more information on rats and how to prevent or eliminate infestations in your home!

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