Whether you have seen a rat or two scurry around your home or you have noticed rat droppings or urine, it is important to realize that rats aren't just a nuisance that can destroy your home, but their presence can also take a toll on your family's health. Rats carry numerous diseases, and if you don't have the rats removed from your home and clean up their feces and urine quickly after finding it, they can spread a disease to one of your family members.
Read on learn about two diseases rats can transmit to humans, so you can take steps to keep your family safe:
Many rats carry a bacteria called leptospirosis. This bacteria can be transmitted to humans when they are exposed to rat urine and feces. When exposed to the bacteria, some people develop serious infections, while others develop no symptoms at all. This makes it important to know that if one family member does not become ill after exposure to rat feces or urine in your home, another may.
After exposure to infected rodent feces or urine, humans can develop an infection as soon as two days after exposure or as long as four weeks after exposure. This makes it important to keep a close eye on a family member's health for a full month after exposure to rat urine or feces to watch for the following symptoms: high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a rash. If you notice your family member displaying several of these symptoms, then get them to an emergency medical facility promptly.
Severe leptospirosis infections can cause kidney damage, liver failure, and meningitis.
2. Rat-Bite Fever
While the name of the illness called rat-bite fever may make it sound like an illness you can only contract when bitten by a rat, the truth is that a rat can spread this bacteria several other ways. Rat-bite fever can also be contracted if a family member is scratched by a rat that carries the bacteria, touches a dead rat that is infected with the bacteria, or eats rat feces that is filled with it.
If a family member is exposed to the bacteria, it is important to keep an eye on them to watch for symptoms of this serious illness. The strain of rat-bite fever that is prevalent in the U.S. can cause a fever, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, and a rash that appears as small red patches with bumps on the skin.
While these symptoms can occur as early as three days after exposure to the bacteria, they can also occur as late as three weeks after exposure. This makes it important to keep a close eye on any family members exposed to the bacteria for a full three weeks after exposure to watch for symptoms that warrant immediate medical treatment.
If you have seen a rat or two scurry around your home, then realize that for every rat you see, there are typically many more hiding out in your walls or in other hidden areas of your home. Call rodent control services at the first sign of a rodent infestation to limit your family's chances of contracting a serious illness, like one of these two commonly carried by rats.