When talking about rat borne diseases, it is pertinent to note that rat and mouse are not scientific classifications. Rat is used to describe medium-sized rodents with long, thin tails, while the mouse is used for tiny, sparrow-sized rodents with long thin tails. Generally, domestic/pest rats or mice are “Norway rats”, black rats, house mice, field rats or dormouse. An important difference is: rats are cautious, while mice are curious and will investigate anything new.
Rats are larger, have coarser hair, larger heads, and feet. Mice are nocturnal rodents who can invade your house all year, though even a ½ inch hole. Rodents are strong swimmers, live in sewers and can enter through water-pipes, drains or even toilets.
They will climb to get food, water or shelter: rats usually stay within 300 ft of their nests. Rodents cause extensive damage to your home. They are unsafe for your family and carry dreadful, even deadly rodent diseases (rat diseases). Rats and rodents will eat nearly anything but prefer fresh grains and meat.
Rats will dig under buildings, along fences, under plants and debris. Mice rarely burrow. Rats can live 12-18 months, breed primarily in spring and are prodigious breeders and eaters. That gives rise to rat borne diseases.
Rodents are extremely dangerous pests because diseases spread by rats to humans are very serious and nasty. Major diseases spread by rats include leptospirosis, HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome), LCM, plague, rat bite fever, salmonellosis, and tularemia.
Among the diseases directly transmitted by rodents and rats are Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPV), which is a viral disease transmitted by the rice rat: through dust contaminated with rat droppings and urine; direct contact with rat droppings or rat bites.
Another, sometimes deadly and fatal rat urine disease is leptospirosis, a nasty bacterial disease caused by exposure (wading or swimming) through water or soil contaminated by rat urine. Monsoonal flooding is associated with outbreaks of leptospirosis, which can even result in liver/kidney damage.
Rat-bite fever is transmitted by a bite, scratch or contact with a dead rat. Salmonellosis is a rat disease when you consume food or water contaminated by rat droppings. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) is a viral infectious disease transmitted through the urine of rats.
Indirect dangerous diseases from rodents
A historically dangerous among rat borne diseases was the rat plague (bubonic or “black plague”) and its variants. Rat flea-bite infected human beings on a gigantic scale resulting in widespread disease and death.
Fleas transported by rats (land, sea, caravans, ships) were responsible for millions of deaths in the middle ages. In the USA, there is also tularemia, Colorado tick fever, and cutaneous leishmaniasis.
How to get rid of rats or kill rats?
Rats cause lots of damage as their teeth keep growing and they chew on hard substances like pipes or electric wiring; they also cause serious diseases and allergies.
If it is just a single rat or rodent then rat traps, mouse traps or rat killer poison would be effective. However, a serious rat problem or rodent infestation requires a safe, effective, quick and efficient professional rodent management service.