Rats: Sewer Rats and the Diseases They Carry

Sewer rats are disgusting and dirty rodents. Like many other rats they carry diseases, and can spread them to people. Most of the time sewer rats spread diseases without them even being present, because the feces and urine sewer rats leave behind are the transmitters of the diseases to people. These dirty sewer rats leave their mess and also walk around people’s houses contaminating everything they touch, if you are not aware of it and do not keep a clean house you are putting yourself and your family at risk of infection of any of the diseases the sewer rats carry. Also some of the diseases that the sewer rats carry can be transmitted through water. This happens if their urine gets in your water supply, pool water or in your toilet bowl water- which may get your dog sick if they drink out of the toilet. To protect yourself and your family and your pets be aware of the diseases. Here is a list of the most common diseases sewer rats carry:

  • Leptospirosis: transmitted though contaminated water, often contaminated with sewer rat urine. These bacteria can cause symptoms such as high fever, chills, muscle and head aches, jaundice and more. There are occasions when there are no symptoms present, to ensure if you have been infected your blood or urine should be tested as it can be mistaken for other diseases.
  • Rat bite fever: most frequent in Asia, rat bite fever can take up to two weeks before symptoms develop like fevers and inflammation, penicillin is used for treatment.
  • Toxoplasmosis: transmitted either through raw or uncooked meat or eating contaminated soil, i.e. sewer rat feces and urine that have contaminated food. Symptoms include headache, muscle ache, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes. Get to a doctor right away.
  • Hanta virus: airborne virus, symptoms do not occur very quickly once they happen, they are similar to the flu and last about a week. If still sick heavy breathing can occur and you should be taken to a hospital because it can be fatal.
  • Crypto (Cryptosporidiosis): this waterborne disease has the symptoms of nausea, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and weight loss. There isn’t an exact treatment, but medicine can help it is best to get to a doctor for help.
  • Weil’s disease: transmitted through rat urine, it is often on contaminated food that people end up eating, shows flu like symptoms but can also cause jaundice and throwing up, is best to see a doctor right away.
  • Trichinosis: carried by rats, but they get it from pigs, it is a worm that can get inside of your intestines. Nausea, diarrhea, heartburn. Headache and chills are some of the symptoms best to go to a doctor right away.
  • Murine Typhus: can be transmitted from the lice that live on rats, this is treatable with antibiotics and the symptoms resemble those of the measles or rubella.
  • VHFs (Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers): transmitted by breathing in infected sewer rat feces and urine. Symptoms of this disease are fatigue, dizziness, weakness, muscle aches and high fever. There are worse symptoms that can develop so if you think you may have been infected or know that you were in a place with rat feces it is best to get to a doctor right away.

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