Throughout history rats, mice, and other rodents have been well-known disease and infection carriers. But what diseases do they spread and how do they spread them? That’s what we’re here to explain so that you take the signs of a rodent infestation seriously and take action to exterminate them to protect your family.
Various diseases and dangerous bacteria are abundant in rodent saliva and also in the waste material that they leave behind like feces and urine. Whether you come in contact with these materials directly or you are bitten by a flea or tick that came in on a rat, these diseases can make your family and pets sick.
Diseases Rodents Carry that Can Make Your Family Sick
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rat and mice spread more than 35 diseases in various regions around the world.
“These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites” writes the CDC.
Indirect Spread from Rodent Parasites
Furthermore, diseases with rodent carriers (or “vectors”) can also spread to humans through indirect means. For example, ticks, mites, fleas, and other insects that might feed on an infected rodent can easily introduce viruses and bacteria into a human host.
When rodents live in your house, their feces will inevitably begin to accumulate. This fecal material can easily contaminate stored food and cause allergic reactions in humans. Even worse, rat and mouse feces can produce airborne particles as they dry, spreading potentially devastating viruses and bacteria to anyone who inhales them.
Examples of Diseases Rodents Can Spread to Humans
Here are just a few of the dangerous infections and diseases that rat and mouse feces can cause:
- Hantavirus – A potentially deadly disease, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is caused by the hantavirus, which commonly lives in the salvia, urine, and feces of white-footed deer mouse and other specific mouse and rat species. Humans can contract HPS through direct contact with rodents or their waste material. HPS is also transmissible through airborne particles of dried saliva, urine, and droppings. Before progressing to a life-threatening level, the disease causes symptoms that include fever, fatigue headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, and chills.
- Leptospirosis – Children and dogs are most at risk from this bacterial infection. People may not have symptoms and carry the virus, then pass it on to their family pet who can become seriously ill if they haven’t had the vaccine. Leptospirosis can be spread through open sores, through flea or tick bites riding on a rodent host, or by water contamination (like a rat drinking out of your dog’s bowl of water for example).
- Salmonella –Salmonella is a type of bacterial food poisoning that is spread by rodent feces. Humans are particularly susceptible to salmonella infection through the consumption of contaminated food. Common symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Healthcare professionals treat tens of millions of salmonella cases around the world on an annual basis.
- Rat-Bite Fever – Rat-bite fever (RBF) can be caused by one of two different species of bacteria that are common in the urine and feces of rodents. Symptoms of RBF include fever, vomiting. Headache, muscle ache, and tender, swollen joints. If left untreated, RBF can result in death.
- Plague – Seriously, rodents carry the plague and we humans can catch it from flea and tick bites or rodent bites. Thanks to advances in modern medicine the plague can easily be treated with medication like antibiotics. But house mice and rats are not the only types of rodents that carry the plague; squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and roof rats may also expose people to the once-deadly plague.
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Rodents Cause House Fires
Beyond their strong links to the spread of disease, rodent infestations present a significant risk for house fires. Rodents chew straight through the electrical wiring in walls and attics, causing up to 25% of the house fires in the United States each year. Mice and rats also chew electrical wiring in vehicles outdoor or in the garage.
How to Prevent and Eliminate Hazardous Rodent Infestations
Rats and mice can go unnoticed then seem to multiply into a huge colony overnight because of their high reproduction rate. The best way to stop a rodent infestation is to prevent one before it starts with a home exclusion service to seal any entry points.
After rodents have infiltrated, homeowners must look into trapping and other available extermination options at once to avoid the harmful effects of a rampant infestation. The trapping process can take up to 5 days, but for larger infestations, it can take even longer.
Contact Life After Bugs
Keep your family safe from the dangerous diseases carried by rats and mice with regular pest and rodent control service. Our family-owned company serves residential and commercial customers in Katy, Richmond, Fulshear, and West Houston. Call (832) 230-6433 or send us an email to request service today.