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Rodent Diseases: What Diseases Do Rats Carry?

Do you know what diseases rats carry?

You can have a healthy rat in your home, but that does not mean that you and your family are safe. There are several rodent diseases, and these diseases can carry a variety of different symptoms. Good rodent control and early detection can help keep you and your family safe.

image - Rodent Diseases What Diseases Do Rats Carry
Rodent Diseases What Diseases Do Rats Carry

What rats carry diseases can be hard to know, as they are very resilient and can tolerate a wide range of environments. Here are the most common rat diseases they can carry and how they can be a threat to you.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease in rats and other dangerous rodents. This disease can pass to humans through contact with rat urine, feces, or contaminated water.

Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, headache, muscle aches, and vomiting. This disease can be deadly if not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Rats carry the Leptospira bacteria and pass them in their urine. The most common sources of human infection are soil or water contaminated with infected urine. If you want to know about residential rodent control for rodent problems, click here.


Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is a disease that is carried by rodents. They can transmit it to humans through contact with infected animals, bites from infected insects, or exposure to contaminated water or soil.

Symptoms of tularemia include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain. If left untreated, tularemia can result in death. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to a successful outcome.

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Rats carry several diseases transferable to humans, including the plague. The plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly.

Symptoms of the plague include fever, chills, headache, weakness, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for the plague includes antibiotics.

Dogs and cats, in particular, can become infected and spread the disease to their human companions. Although wild animals in Washington do not carry plague germs and while visiting different regions, humans and household animals like dogs and cats could get bitten by infected fleas. Antibiotics can be used to treat the plague.

Rat Bite Fever

Rodent diseases are relatively rare in the United States, but they can occur. One of the most serious is rat bite fever, which can be fatal if untreated.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, and vomiting, and usually appear within 3-10 days after the bite or scratching by an infected rat. If you think you may have exposure, see a doctor immediately and avoid contact with other rodents.


The common house mouse is the primary host of lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV). Pet rodents can become infected after coming into contact with wild house mice that have infested pet stores or homes.

Pregnant women are the most vulnerable to LCMV infection, which can result in birth defects and intellectual disabilities in the unborn child.

Protection Against Rodent Diseases

Rats can carry several diseases such as leptospirosis, tularemia, plague, rat bite fever, and LCMV where some of which can be deadly to humans. It is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to avoid exposure. If you suspect you have exposure to rodent diseases, seek medical attention immediately.

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