Rat Damage

Rats destroy property with their constant gnawing, as they chew through wooden structures and wires. This behavior can lead to electrical shorts and even devastating building fires. The pests burrow under buildings, which make the foundations unstable. The major problem cotton rats pose is the threat of destruction to crops and plants. Some estimates put the economic loss in the billions of dollars from rat damage in the United States.

Rat Species & Health Risks

Rat dropping near an entry point

Often ridden with disease, rats spread pathogens through their feces and urine, as well as through bites and scratches. Simply by invading homes and yards, the pests can transmit these diseases to humans through their urine, droppings, fur, and saliva.

Rat Diseases and Your Health

Aptly named, rat-bite fever is transmitted through contact with the rodents’ saliva. This, along with Hantavirus, salmonellosis, E. coli poisoning, and leptospirosis, is one of the illnesses people can catch directly from rats. Ticks, fleas, and mites that live in the pests’ fur often ferry rat diseases to humans indirectly.

In addition to the plague, these parasites may carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The pests’ droppings, dander, and fur can also trigger allergic reactions.

Rat Bites

Aside from being painful, rat bites can transmit a variety of diseases depending on the pest's species. Cotton rats are more likely to be infected with the bacteria that causes rat-bite fever, while Norway rats often carry Hantavirus.

If bitten, observing the appearance of the rat can narrow down possible health concerns. Bites from cotton rats are prevalent in the rural Southeast, while Norway rats infest homes nationwide, especially in the urban Midwest and Northeast.

Rat Behavior and Diseases

A rat bites most often when cornered or frightened. However, studies show that Norway rats display unusually aggressive behavior and may also attack without an obvious trigger. Most rat diseases are spread through feces, urine, ticks, and fleas.

However, some diseases, such as Hantavirus and rat-bite fever, can be spread through bites. The former is a severe respiratory disease that, if left untreated, can cause the lungs to fill with fluid. Rat-bite fever is an infectious disease of the heart and brain. Both begin with flu-like symptoms and should be treated immediately.

Rat Bite Treatment

If bitten by a rat, the main concern is preventing infection. An indicator of rat-bite fever is a rash of small, red bumps on the hands and feet. This requires prescription medication and cannot be treated without professional intervention, though it is wise to have any rat-bite checked out by a doctor. Due to rats' aggressive behavior, it is best to contact the wildlife removal specialists at Trutech to avoid the risk of injury and disease.

Protection from Rat Diseases

Keeping a clean home, especially in kitchens and laundry rooms, is the most effective means of preventing rat problems. If there is already an infestation, all carcasses, feces, and nests must be removed to make homes safe. However, because rat droppings can release dangerous spores into the air when disturbed, attempting to clean without proper safety gear often makes a dangerous situation even worse. For this reason, it’s recommended to call upon the professionals at Trutech. Our technicians know how to avoid rat diseases and deal decisively with rodent pests.