Rodents And Disease

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Here in New York State, rat and mice infestations are a common occurrence for many. These are commensal creatures that prefer to live in our homes rather than try to make it in the wild. But, they do not live exclusively in our homes. That means they are coming and going to and from the environment around our homes all the time. The rat that has been getting into your pantry items could be the same rat that was crawling in the dumpster down the road. The mouse that has been crawling in your silverware drawer could have just come from the culvert system under your road. But worse still, rodents have the capacity to contract and carry harmful diseases, and carry parasites, such as fleas and ticks that also have diseases. These are not creatures you ever want to allow in your home. Here are some of the ways rodents spread disease.

Bites and Scratches

If you have mice or rats living in your home, there may come a time when you find yourself in close contact. This can lead to a bite or scratch. Though you may immediately think of rabies, this is actually not a disease associated with rats or mice. It is rare to find either of these creatures infect with the rabies virus. But rats can spread rat-bite fever when they bite, which can lead to inflammation of the skin, fever, and vomiting.

Droppings and Urine

The CDC has directly linked rats and mice to Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, lassa fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, Omsk hemorrhagic fever, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis, tularemia, and plague. Many of these diseases are spread through droppings and urine left behind by rodents.


If rats or mice get into ventilation systems, they have the potential to send diseases airborne. This is a significant issue with the Hantavirus, which is spread primarily by deer mice. Symptoms from this disease include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If untreated, this disease can lead to severe respiratory illness and can be fatal.


Rats and mice can carry many parasites on and inside their bodies. The worst of these is fleas because they have the capacity to carry the plague. In a study done by Cornell and Columbia Universities, it was found that 133 New York City rats had 6,500 fleas, lice, and mites that can carry bacteria capable of causing serious harm to humans. Fortunately, the plague was not one of them. City health officials say that the plague requires extreme circumstances and those circumstances do not exist in the Big Apple. But, those other diseases do. So this is something that needs to be considered.

Rats and mice can pose a serious threat to your house and your health. If you're finding either of these creatures scurrying around, you would benefit from having one of our expert technicians here at Thomas Pest Services do a thorough inspection and get them sealed out. It is never a good idea to have rodents living in your home. Give us a call today!

Tags: home pest control  |  mice and rats carry diseases  |  home inspection


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