Rodents are survivors, making them top transmitters of human disease. They also reproduce quickly. One pair of rats can produce almost half a billion offspring in three years. They can swim for three days and pass through holes smaller than their bodies a handy ability for evasion and escape. They will eat almost anything (even their own waste) and carry germs responsible for several human illnesses. Managing rodent populations with a professional extermination/removal services helps control disease.
Germs carried by rodents:
1. Hantavirus. Hantavirus is a life-threatening virus spread by rodents through urine and fecal droppings. While Hantavirus does not make rodents sick, it causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease. Without immediate treatment, HPS deaths can occur between 1-2 days after severe breathing problems begin.
2. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). LCMV causes a neurological disease called Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM). Humans contract LCM through exposure to fresh urine, fecal droppings, saliva, or nesting materials from infected rodents. Fever, pain, and nausea are the first signs of LCM, followed by confusion, mobility problems, and hallucinations.
3. Streptobacillus moniliformis. This pathogen is known for causing “rat bite fever,” a rare illness with symptoms including chills, fever, joint pain, and rashes. Although it can be treated with antibiotics, more severe complications may include abscesses in the brain or soft tissue; infection of heart valves; and inflammation of salivary glands, tendons, and the heart lining.
4. Leptospira. A virus responsible for Leptospirosis, this can be transmitted to humans and pets through rodent urine and waste. Signs and symptoms of Leptospirosis include high fever, chills, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rashes. Without antibiotic treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and death.
5. Salmonella. Rodents carry Salmonella as a normal component in their bodies and can spread this bacteria through fecal droppings. Salmonella causes food poisoning, with frequent diarrhea and fever and painful stomach cramps.
Germs indirectly carried by rodents:
1. Borrelia burgdorferi. This is found on ticks that feed on rats. It causes Lyme disease, which begins with a “bulls-eye” type rash and progresses into severe headache, neck stiffness, additional rashes on other areas of the body, heart palpitations, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It is a very serious disease requiring lifelong medical treatment.
2. Rickettsial pathogens. This group of bacteria (found in fleas, lice, mites, and ticks that reside on rodents), is responsible for spreading typhus. There are two types of typhus: epidemic typhus, (spread by lice) and endemic typhus (transmitted by fleas). Epidemic typhus causes symptoms including: rashes on the body trunk, high fever, nausea, malaise, diarrhea, and vomiting. Epidemic typhus has similar but more severe symptoms, including bleeding into the skin, delirium, hypotension, and death.
3. Yersinia pestis. This is found in rat fleas and is the main cause for spreading plague, a deadly disease responsible for killing more than 200 million people around the world. Plague has flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, muscle pain, weakness and headache. It can progress to nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
While medical advances made these illnesses easier to diagnose and treat, rodents continue to threaten humans and animals with spread of infection. Do not attempt to remove rodents from your property without help from professional pest control experts. Until then, control the rodents’ access to food and shelter to discourage them from nesting and spreading germs and disease.
Protect yourself from rodent-infested illnesses; call Pro-Pest. (416) 487-4179