Rats: Pack Rats and the Diseases They Carry

The nests of the pack rat may sound bad enough, but like the roof rat this rodent can carry many diseases. Various types of rats often carry the same diseases, therefore all necessary measures need to be taken in order to prevent exposure to these horrific diseases. Here are some common diseases a pack rat carries:

  • Rat bite fever: most frequent in Asia, can take up to two weeks before symptoms develop, symptoms include fevers and inflammation, penicillin is used for treatment.
  • Arena virus: transmitted through the air where feces and urine are present, flu like symptoms that can turn into internal bleeding,  see a doctor if exposed.
  • Hanta virus: airborne virus, flu like symptoms that do not occur very quickly and last about a week, continued illness can be fatal, see a doctor if exposed.
  • Trichinosis: carried by rats, symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, see a doctor immediately if you experience headache and chills.
  • Bubonic plague: a skin infection that can be treated with antibiotics, symptoms include red marks on skin that turn black, heaving breathing, aching, and throwing up blood, see a doctor immediately if exposed.
  • Weil’s disease: transmitted through urine, often carried on contaminated food, flu like symptoms, can cause jaundice and vomiting, see a doctor right away.
  • Typhoid: transmitted through feces and urine, either airborne or from contaminated food, symptoms include high fevers, sweats, diarrhea and rash of red spots, treated with antibiotics,  see a doctor if exposed.

Pack rats can also carry different bacteria like salmonella and parasites. Similar to the roof rat, the pack rat does not always have to actually bite a person to transmit the disease. The droppings of the pack rat can be a carrier as well as insects like fleas, ticks, or mites that live on pack rats. Therefore the infiltration of pack rats in a home can be very harmful.

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