Your household may have started to grow much larger without you noticing it, with the invasion of rats or rodents seeking shelter, water and food. Hearing the sounds of rodents inside walls or in your attic or seeing rodent droppings on your property is often the first sign of an infestation.
Sharing your living space with rodents and rats is an unsettling proposition for homeowners. It can also lead to rat infestation health risks that you will want to address as soon as possible with the help of pest control professionals.
Pest World points out that rodents are implicated in spreading more than 35 diseases to humans. These diseases spread through humans handling dead or live rats or coming into contact with the saliva, urine or feces of rats. Rodent bites also spread diseases. In some cases, rodents cause ailments in humans indirectly. They give diseases to ticks, mites or fleas, which then go on to infect humans.
Here are health risks associated with rodent and rat infestations to be aware of before you contact professional rodent pest control services.
Plague: Plague is a deadly disease known for causing millions of deaths in Europe during the 1300s “Black Death” epidemic. Plague continues to be worrisome today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on diseases caused directly by rodents explains that plague is caused by a bacteria. A rat gets infected after being bitten by a flea. Then the rat can infect you directly.
Potential Health Risks from Rodents
- Salmonellosis: Another bacteria agent, salmonellosis, is found all around the world. It’s spread to humans when they drink water or eat food that rats have contaminated with their feces, per the CDC. Salmonella is a microscopic germ that leads to diarrheal illness in people, and it’s something you and your family will want to steer clear of.
- Tularemia: People can contract tularemia from rats directly after handling a dead rodent or rat. You can also get sick if you eat or drink anything that rodent feces have contaminated. Another way to acquire tularemia is to breathe in the bacteria known as F. tularensis. People are subject to catching tularemia indirectly, from ticks and other insects that catch the disease from rodents or rats living in their house.
- Rat-Bite Fever: This disease is caused by a bacteria known as Streptobacillus moniliformis. You and your family are subject to catching rat-bite fever if you drink water or eat food that rat feces have contaminated. Another way to get sick is if an infected rodent or rat manages to bite or scratch you. Coming into contact with a dead rat that’s been infected with rat-bite fever can make you sick too.
- Hantavirus: According to the United States Department of Labor, Hantavirus infects humans when they touch saliva, urine or droppings from rats and mice. At first, people feel like they have the flu, with muscle aches, chills and fevers. But then the illness can grow life-threatening, with the possibility of lungs filling up with fluid and causing respiratory distress and ultimately respiratory failure.
- Lyme Disease: A major example of a disease that’s indirectly caused by rodents and rats is Lyme Disease. The CDC points out that Lyme disease is spread by a bacteria. Ticks that live on mice and rodents get infected, and then if a tick lands on you and bites you, it spreads the bacteria to make you sick. Side effects include fatigue, rash, and headache, with the disease spreading to the heart and nervous system if not treated in time.
- West Nile Virus: Also spread indirectly from rodents, West Nile Virus has as a chief vector the common mosquito. A mosquito can transfer West Nile Virus from a rodent living inside your home to you if it lands on your skin and bites you.
- Leptospirosis: A disease caused by bacteria, leptospirosis can make you and members of your family sick if it comes into contact with your mucus membranes (like in your nose). You can also catch leptospirosis by touching soil or water that has been contaminated by urine from an infected rodent, according to the CDC.
- Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis: This disease can be found all around the world, wherever rodents live. You can catch LCM by breathing in dust that has become contaminated by rodent droppings or urine from rats. It’s also spread by people coming into direct contact with these waste products. While it’s relatively rare for people to be bitten, a bite wound will also transmit this disease to your family, so always be cautious.
This list of rodent infestation risks is a sample and is not meant to be comprehensive.
Protect Your Family Against the Risks of a Rodent Infestation
If you notice signs of rodents and rats in your home, stay away from the animals, so you don’t get bitten and infected. Wash up carefully if you have touched an animal or been near its droppings.
With so many potential rodent infestation health risks from having rats and rodents taking up residence in your dwelling, you’ll want to bring in experienced, licensed professionals immediately. The team at EcoTek Pest Control is standing by to help.
To learn about our approach to rodent removal and control services in the greater Spokane, WA area and surrounding community or to book an appointment for service, please contact us at 509-669-9151 today.