Rat Diseases


Rats are a potential wellspring of disease. Their droppings, dander, and hair can make individuals experience unfavorable symptoms. Diseases transmitted by rodents can be categorized as one of two classifications: diseases transmitted from introduction to rodent excrement and bites, and diseases transmitted to individuals by an intermediate arthropod vector, for example, bugs, ticks, or mites. While the accompanying rundown of diseases and ailments is connected to rats, most are not commonly experienced in the U.S.

Rat Borne Diseases

  • Arenavirus
  • Bartonellosis (Channel fever)
  • Capillariasis
  • Echinococcosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rat-bite fever
  • Rat tapeworms
  • Salmonellosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Trichinellosis
  • Tularemia
  • Weil’s disease

Rats are home to a wide scope of disease-causing life forms, including numerous types of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminths (worms). They additionally go about as vectors or reservoirs for some diseases by means of their ectoparasites, for example, fleas, ticks, lice and mites.

How Might I Contract Diseases from a Rat?

  • Inhalation or direct contact with rat excrement (urine, defecation, spit);
  • Handling or breathing in microorganism particles aerosolized from roughage, heaps of wood, or different materials debased with rat urine;
  • Particles aerosolized by clearing rat invaded spaces;
  • Bites from rodents – microorganisms conveyed in salivation can infect both individuals and other rodents;
  • Scratches from a rat;
  • Drinking defiled water or eating sullied food;
  • Rodents going about as sources infecting ectoparasites (ticks, insects, mites, lice) with different pathogens
  • Dogs, cats and foxes eating rats and contracting parasites afterward and spreading it to humans. For example, tapeworms can be transmitted to humans in this way;
  • Rodent as reservoirs for different flying-insect-borne diseases.

Diseases brought about by rats

The common, notable, and perilous diseases related to rats are depicted below:


Rats can carry Salmonella bacteria that cause ailments in both humans and pets. Infection happens when food or water is contaminated with rat droppings.

Symptoms occur 12 to 72 hours after infection and include:

    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal cramps

A large number of people recuperate in a couple of days without treatment other than a substitution of liquid lost by the body. When an individual is infected, the disease is effortlessly transmitted to others through poor hand cleanliness and sanitation.


Leptospirosis is an infection brought about by types of Leptospira bacteria. It is transmitted from the urine of infected animals. People can catch this disease by:

  • Direct contact with urine or other animal body liquids (aside from spit) of infected animals;
  • Contact with soil, water, or food contaminated by the animal’s urine.

Symptoms appear in 7-14 days and can range from mellow to serious flu-like symptoms including:

  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash

It may be treated with antibiotics.

Weil's Disease

In about 10% of Leptospirosis cases a progressively serious form evolves, called Weil’s disease. This can bring about organ failure, internal bleeding, and death.


  • Jaundice
  • Swollen ankles, feet or hands
  • Chest pain
  • Symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis, for example, headaches, vomiting and seizures
  • Coughing up blood

Emergency treatment is necessary and could include: ventilators, dialysis treatment, and intravenous antibiotics and liquids.

Rat-Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever is brought about by two bacteria: Streptobacilus moniliformis and Spirillum minus. In infected rats, the bacteria is present in excrement and discharge from the mouth, nose, and eyes. It is typically caused by a bite or scratch from an infected rat or other rodents, for example, mice, squirrels, and gerbils.


Symptoms of rat-bite fever contrast between the two bacteria

  • Streptobacillus
  • Spirillum
  • Heart infections
  • Meningitis (brain infection)
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Abscesses in internal organs

The infections can be treated with antibiotics.


Tularemia is brought about by the bacteria, Franciselatularensis, which has a few strains that differ in virulence and geographical range. The rodent reservoirs of Tularemia incorporate moles, mice, rats, muskrats, beavers, ground squirrels, lemmings and hamsters. Hares and rabbits are regular transporters of the disease.


The symptoms vary depending upon the course of infection, however all produce a fever:

  • Ulceroglandular
  • Glandular
  • Pneumonic
  • Occuloglandular
  • Oropharyngeal

Symptoms last several weeks.

Tularemia can be treated with a range of antibiotics.


Many types of rodents can transmit hantavirus.


  • Flu-like symptoms


  • Contact with rat urine, spit, defecation, touch, contaminated food or drink, aerosolized particles.


Arenavirus is a primitive virus, with eight types known to cause serious diseases in humans that normally appear as a fever and intense hemorrhagic ailments. Some such as Lassa fever have high mortality rates. Every one of these viruses is related to a specific rodent species related to geographic region.


  • Contact with food or other items contaminated with rat discharge or breathing in contaminated particles.


  • There is no known vaccine or treatment


Toxoplasmosis is a common infection brought about by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. The principal host is the household cat, however, rats can act as middle hosts, passing on the parasite when eaten by cats. Contamination from cat excrement is a way for human infection.

Hazard to Human Health
Pregnant women and individuals with weak immune systems are more likely to suffer severe consequences. Unsuccessful labor, stillbirth, or other threats to newborns are some of these consequences.

Rodent Tapeworm

There are two types of tapeworms found in rodents, Hymenelepis nana and H. dimunata. The two species utilize a beetle (e.g. a flour scarab) as the principle auxiliary host and are found in warm atmospheres around the world.


  • Ingesting food or water sullied with beetle or rodent droppings
  • Hand contact with contaminated items, then spread from hands to ingested food.


In extreme cases:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Enteritis
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anal and nasal tingling

Infection may not cause much harm to adults, but can lead to serious issues amongst children.


Echinococcosis is brought about by a type of tapeworm. The primary hosts are carnivores such as, foxes, coyotes, and wolves. Intermediary hosts are grazing animals and pigs. Rats can act as halfway hosts, passing on the cysts of the larval stage when eaten by cats and dogs.


  • Infection can stay without evident symptoms for a considerable length of time
  • Infected tissue develops like a tumor</li


Capillariasis is brought about by one type of nematode (roundworm), Capillaria Hepatica. It is unusual for the lifecycle of the nematode to require one host and it relies upon the passing of the host to scatter feasible eggs. Rodents are the primary host, however, it can likewise be other mammals including humans.


  • Liver failure


Trichinellosis is caused by eating raw meat infected with the Trichinella nematode worm. Rats can carry the parasite and create infections among carnivores and omnivores.