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4 Diseases Rats Carry

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Rats can do much more than make your skin crawl; these small creatures can also get you very sick. If you come in contact with a diseased rat in your home, you are at risk of contracting several serious diseases. It is very important to watch out for rats in your home and get rid of them as soon as possible. Here are four diseases rats carry:  


Leptospirosis, also commonly referred as Weil's disease, is commonly found in rats and can cause serious side effects in humans, including a fever, vomiting, chills and rash. If the disease progresses, it can lead to jaundice, kidney failure, respiratory problems and even death, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Humans can contract this disease by coming in contact with rat urine.

Rat Bite Fever

If a rat bites or scratches you, you might contract rat bite fever. If the rat passed on streptobacillary bacteria to you, expect to experience a fever, muscle pain, headaches, rash and vomiting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is common to experience these symptoms three to 10 days after getting infected. If you contract spirillary rat bite fever, you may deal with swollen lymph nodes, a fever, ulcer and rash. You should notice these symptoms seven to 21 days after you come in contact with an infected rat. It is important to get to the hospital as soon as you experience any of these symptoms. A doctor can give you antibiotics to cure the disease.


Salmonellosis is one more disease you have to worry about if you have rats in your home. You can catch this disease if you ingest water or food that contains infected urine or feces. Some of the symptoms you may experience include diarrhea, a fever and cramps. Fortunately, this illness usually is not fatal if it is treated right away. However, if the infection enters your bloodstream, it can infect important tissues in your body, including the ones surrounding your brain and heart. Once you notice symptoms of salmonellosis, it is time to go to the hospital. Your doctor will replace fluids and electrolytes in your body and give you antibiotics to kill the infection.


If you come in contact with a rat that has been bitten by a flea infected with plague, you can contract this disease. According to eMedicine Health, you can experience many unpleasant symptoms with this illness, including vomiting, body aches, a stiff neck, stomach pain, shortness of breath and low blood pressure. If a doctor determines that you have been infected with the plague, he will isolate you from other patients so that you do not infect anyone else. You will be carefully monitored by healthcare professionals and given antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The plague can lead to very serious complications, such as swelling around the heart, meningitis and low blood pressure.

As you can see, rats carry some potentially fatal illnesses. If you catch one of these diseases, you could be out of commission for a while and face some dangerous complications. To reduce your chances of contracting any of these illnesses, keep an eye for rats in your home. If you believe your house is infested with rats, do not attempt to get rid of them yourself. If you do not know how to handle rodents, you could get hurt. Hiring a reputable pest control company, like Cavanaugh's Professional Termite & Pest Services, to do the job is the better option. An experienced pest control specialist will come to your home and get rid of all the rats safely and efficiently.