Since rats move around quite a bit trying to find available food sources, it is safe to say that they come into contact with various viruses, bacteria and fungi, and this is the reason why they often are carriers of different diseases. The diseases rats carry are numerous, but mentioned below are those that are most often transferred by them:
1. Salmonella – rats often carry this type of bacteria that is easily transferred onto humans. They transfer it by touching food that a person later consumes. Salmonella causes serious gastroenteritis, sometimes with fatal consequences. Salmonella carried by rats can be transferred to pets as well, causing the same symptoms and very often a fatal outcome.
2. Bubonic plague – rats are the primary carriers of this infection that is passed onto humans. It is actually carried on fleas that live on rats and then stay in a human’s home and get transferred onto humans. The bite of such a flea can swiftly infect a person and cause a fatal outcome. This is a very dangerous infection because it spreads quickly and can cause the death of many people in a very short period of time. Luckily, it is successfully treated with a strong dose of antibiotics.
3. Leptospirosis – rats carry this dangerous infection as well as some other rodents. This is a bacterial infection that causes dangerous changes in the liver and it can cause infertility if not treated as soon as possible. It is successfully treated with antibiotics.
4. Fever caused by rat bite – this is a dangerous infection that can cause death if left untreated properly. People also get this infection by eating contaminated food or through open wounds on skin.
5. Tapeworms – rats and some other rodents carry tapeworm infections that can have a fatal outcome if left untreated. The infection is acquired by eating contaminated food (that had come into contact with rat droppings) or by getting in contact with contaminated droppings and failing to wash hands thoroughly afterwards. Parasites travel to the intestines where they hatch and reproduce, causing problems with digestion that can subsequently lead to dangerous weight loss and a series of other diseases triggered by weakened immunity.
6. Murine Typhus – this infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it is dangerous for older individuals or persons with weak immunity. Symptoms include but are not limited to headache, vomiting and diarrhea, cough, and fever. The disease can have a fatal outcome if not treated in a timely way.
These are just some of the possible infections that can be contracted from rats. There are others as well, so it is important to act in prevention against a rat infestation.
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