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Diseases Brought By Rats

At present times, there are numerous diseases that can affect humans. It is undeniable that many factors within our environment have contributed from even simple colds, to the very life-threatening illnesses. Among these factors is the rodent – RATS.

Rats have been carriers of diseases that can affect humans, if not; they can directly weaken us through their urine and scratches among others. The diseases brought by rats may not be detected right away simply because it will start from minor problems only such as headache, vomiting, and muscle pains. However, we should all be aware that we cannot forsake these simple symptoms, or else it may worsen and can cause death. That is what we are trying to avoid, especially if we have children, elderly, and other persons with low immune system living with us. However, before thoroughly knowing each of the disease that is caused by rats, let me remind you one thing, preventing rat infestation is the best way to keep our family and loved ones healthy.  

There are six known diseases that are caused by rats, namely, leptospirosis, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, eosinophilic meningitis, rat-bite fever (RBF), Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), and murine typhus. Each of these stems from rats' commensal to rats' waste. 


Leptospirosis is very common especially during wet season. This is due to high incidence of flood, wherein the urine of the rats may mix with the water. Children are very prone to acquiring this illness because of their playful nature and depressed immune system. Therefore, my advice to parents, do not let your young ones play over flooded areas because they may get the bacteria that causes leptospirosis.

The disease, leptospirosis, is caused by the bacteria that is from the genus leptospira. The person infected by the said bacteria may be asymptomatic or may not manifest the symptoms. Nevertheless, this disease can cause a wide range of symptoms. We should take note of the following symptoms because these are the primary ones: high fever, vomiting, muscle pains, severe headache, and chills. In addition, jaundice or yellowing of the skin and conjunctiva, red eyes, abdominal pain, rash, and diarrhea may result also.

Death is quite rare in this disease. Nonetheless, we should seek a professional's help when the above mentioned signs and symptoms are felt because it may worsen and can lead to problems like liver failure, respiratory distress, kidney damage, and meningitis.

Salmonella Enterica Serovar Typhimurium

S. Typhimurium is characterized by nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. This is usually treated with antibiotics. Normally, this disease is not fatal. But if left untreated, the infection may cause death to the person.

Eosinophilic Meningitis (EM)

This disease is the infection of the brain by a parasite called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, also known as the rat lungworm. It is characterized by an increase of eosinophils or white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). EM can be acquired through ingestion of contaminated foods.

Rat-Bite Fever (RBF)

RBF is a systemic illness that is caused by a bacterium called Streptobacillus moniliformis. From its name, we can already tell that this condition can be acquired through rat's bite. If you are scratched by a rat, RBF may result also. Moreover, ingestion of foods that are touched or contaminated with rat's feces can also cause rat-bite fever.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

HPS is first known in 1993. It can be acquired by humans through aerosolized virus. This disease can be passed on from rat's urine, saliva, or droppings. There are few who are identified to have died from Hantavirus pulmonary sysndrome, but according to experts, HPS is potentially deadly.

Murine Typhus

If you think that only dogs, buffalos, and the likes have fleas, then you are wrong. Rats have fleas too, and these rat's commensals can transmit a disease to humans known as murine typhus. This disease is caused by an infection of R. typhi. In humid, tropical countries, rats that are infested with fleas can be found whole year round. In contrast, in temperate places, flea-infested rats are common only during warm summer season. So beware of rats, especially during hot temperatures, because they may carry in them fleas.

Now that we are already acquainted with the diseases that can be transmitted to us by rats, it is very helpful to be cautious about our environment. We must make sure that we are living in a rat-free household. Do not wait for infections to occur before taking actions for the reason that it might be too late.
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