Do rats really spread disease and illnesses?

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Mar 17, 2015 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

Rats are often thought of as disease-ridden pests – but do they really spread illness?

The creatures have in recent months been absolved of responsibility for outbreaks of black death which swept Europe in the 14th century.

Scientists said in February it was actually gerbils which brought the bubonic plague to Europe from Asia.

But rats do carry, and can spread, a number of nasty diseases.

Along with fleas and other parasites, wild rats are known to carry and help transmit illnesses such as foot and mouth – which brought Britain’s countryside to a stand still in 2001.

And they have also been linked to more obscure conditions including cryptosporidiosis – a parasite-borne intestinal disease.

Pet rats are generally disease-free.

A rat
A rat

Weil’s disease

Weil’s disease is perhaps the best known disease spread by rats.

Technically is an infection known as leptospirosis, and while in common cases it can cause flu-like symptoms, including chills and headaches.

In severe cases it can lead to organ failure and bleeding.

Weil’s disease is spread by contact with soil or water contaminated with the urine of certain wild animals, including rats. The condition can be treated with antibiotics.

Salmonella

Rats are a known carrier of the bacteria that can lead to salmonella.

Tuberculosis

All mammals can be affected by TB and rats are no different, they can both carry and transmit the disease.

e.coli

Rats can, and do, carry the bacteria which can be passed on through their faeces.

Article source: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/rats-really-spread-disease-illnesses-8851499

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