Rodents are not only pesky creatures that destroy property and contaminate food sources. They also carry different types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illnesses in both humans and animals.
In general, rodents can spread diseases by coming into contact with human food supplies or sewage systems. They can transmit pathogens through their urine, saliva, droppings, and parasites. Rodents are also capable of carrying more than one pathogen or parasite, which can make them even more dangerous. Although rodents are not the only creatures that can spread infectious diseases, they are certainly the most common, especially in developing countries with poor sanitation and limited access to healthcare services.
Rodent Transmission Pathways
There are many ways in which rodents can spread infectious diseases to humans and other animals. Below are some of the most common transmission pathways:
- Direct contact through bites and scratches.
- Indirect contact with contaminated areas and surfaces.
- Contaminated water sources.
- Inhalation of dust particles contaminated by rodent urine or droppings that are dried and become airborne.
- Ingestion of food contaminated by rodent saliva, urine, or droppings.
The degree of exposure to rodents and the type of pathogen they carry determines whether humans will become infected with an infectious disease. If you suspect you have been directly or indirectly exposed to rodents, it is crucial to get the proper medical treatment as soon as possible. It will not only prevent you from becoming ill but will also protect those around you who may be at risk of infection.
6 Different Types of Rodent-Borne Diseases
Rodents can carry a number of different types of infectious diseases, some more harmful than others. Here are six of the most common infectious diseases caused by rodents:
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) – HPS is one of the most dangerous, if not deadly, rodent-borne infections in North America. It is a severe respiratory illness that can progress to kidney failure and even death within weeks after exposure. The symptoms are similar to pneumonia but may include fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis – Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and in some cases can lead to meningitis. This disease can be transmitted to humans through contact with rodent urine and droppings. LCM is not usually fatal but can lead to some serious neurological problems.
Bubonic Plague – The bubonic plague is an infectious disease that affects rodents and their fleas. It is caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium found in the blood and lymphatic system of infected mammals. The plague can progress rapidly, causing fever, headache, and extreme exhaustion as well as swollen lymph nodes called buboes.
Rat-Bite Fever – Rat-bite fever is caused by the bacteria Streptobacillus moniliformis (North America) and Spirillum minus (Asia). These bacteria can be transmitted from rodents to humans through bites and scratches, but they may also spread when people come in contact with rodents’ urine or feces. Once an individual has been infected, symptoms typically present themselves within 3-10 days and include fever, muscle aches, vomiting, and rashes.
Tularemia – Tularemia, commonly known as “rabbit fever” is a serious bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through rodent bites and scratches. Symptoms of tularemia include fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. In rare cases, it can lead to pneumonia or meningitis if left untreated.
Leptospirosis – Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria of the genus Leptospira. This pathogen spreads through rodent urine and other contaminated fluids. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, headache, muscle aches, and vomiting as well as more serious complications such as kidney damage, meningitis, or liver failure.
Preventing Infectious Diseases Caused by Rodents
The best way to avoid contracting infectious diseases from rodents is by practicing proper rodent control and sanitation. It will not only decrease the risk of exposure but will also protect you, your family members, and anyone else in close contact with the infected environment. If a member of your household has been exposed to any rodent-borne diseases, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Avoiding exposure to rodents and their waste products will decrease your risk of contracting an infectious disease, but it can be difficult to eliminate this threat without professional help. If you need complete rodent control and sanitation services in the greater San Francisco Bay area, look no further than Bay Area Rodent Solutions. For more than 12 years, they have been providing safe, effective rodent control solutions to homes and businesses in the entire Bay area from San Francisco to Monterey and as far east as Walnut Creek. They are passionate about protecting the local community from property damage and deadly diseases that can be caused by rodents, raccoons, skunks, possums, and other wildlife.
Contact Bay Area Rodent Solutions today at (877) 301-7826 and discover why they are the number one choice of residential and commercial property owners when it comes to quality and affordable rodent control solutions in the San Francisco Bay area.