Bats Host More Viruses Than Rodents

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A new study released has confirmed there are twice as many rodent species as there are bat species and bats hosted more zoonotic viruses per species than rodents.

What is a zoonotic?

A zoonosis is any infectious disease that can be transmitted (in some instances, by a vector) from non-human animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to non-human animals. Many serious diseases fall under this category.

What are examples of a zoonotic?

  • Anthrax, Avian influenza (bird flu), Babesiosis, Dengue fever, Eastern/Western/Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Hantavirus, Plague, Ringworms, Salmonellosis, Swine influenza (swine flu), West Nile virus and Yellow fever

The researchers in the study found that bats were more likely to share viruses between species and that viruses may pass more easily between different bat species that live in the same geographic range than between rodent species. While humans should keep their distance from bats, there are ecosystem benefits from healthy bat populations that eat insects and pollinate fruits. Bats eat enough insects to account for as much as $3 billion worth of pesticide control annually in the United States.

What are diseases and threats associated with bats?

  • Rabies is perhaps the most well-known disease associated with bats. An exposure to rabies most commonly occurs when a person is bitten by a rabid animal. It can also be transmitted when the saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with a person's mouth, eyes, nose, or a fresh wound.  Each year in the United States up to 30,000 people are exposed to a rabid animal, including bats.

  • Histoplasmosis is another disease associated with bats. Its symptoms vary greatly, but the disease primarily affects the lungs. Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that grows in soil and material contaminated with droppings from animals, including bats. Droppings, also known as bat guano, can contaminate the soil and cause infectious spores to be released when the soil is disturbed.

What are diseases and threats associated with rodents (mice and rats)?

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. 

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings.

  • Direct contact with rodents, their urine and rodent droppings.

Rat-Bite Fever

  • Bite or scratch wound from an infected rodent, or contact with a dead rodent.

  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces.


  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces.


  • Handling infected animal carcasses.

  • Being bitten by an infected tick, deer fly or other insect.

  • Eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

  • Breathing in the bacteria.

  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently.

Thomas Pest Services can give you peace of mind with our rodent removal and bat removal services. Thomas Pest Services will make sure you, your family, health and home are safe from rodents, bats and diseases associated with rodents and bats. Keep an eye out for pests and at the first signs of infestation, contact our pest control professionals. The best action you can take for your home, family and property is contacting a pest management professional for a no charge home audit.


Tags: bat droppings  |  bat removal  |  rodent control


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