The Microbes Ol’ Ratty May Carry

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The Microbes Ol' Ratty May Carry

The Microbes Ol’ Ratty May Carry

Once resplendent landscapes of Australia gave way to clear seas; however, Sydney is now filled with ticks, rats, and mosquitoes. Their effect on Public Health? It’s certainly not benign!

Microbes Ol’ Ratty – Rodents as Disease Vectors

There are few creatures on Earth as reviled as rats. With their beady eyes, sharp teeth and scaly tails, these rodents have long been associated with filth, disease, and death. Now, new research suggests that rats may indeed pose a serious threat to human health, as they are carriers of harmful microbes.

A recent study published in the journal Science found that rats in New York City are infected with at least nine different pathogens that can cause serious disease in humans. These include bacteria that cause Lyme disease, bubonic plague and typhus.

While it’s unlikely that you will ever catch one of these diseases from a rat, the fact that these animals are carrying them is cause for concern. It suggests that they may be spreading these diseases to other animals – including humans.

So how did the rats become infected in the first place? It’s likely that they picked up the bacteria from other animals they came into contact with, including mice and birds. They may also have picked up some of the bacteria from the environment, such as soil or water contaminated with sewage.

Whatever the source of the infection, it’s clear that rats are playing a role in spreading dangerous microbes around.

Are you at risk from the Microbes Ol’ Ratty?

Microbes Ol' Ratty

Microbes Ol’ Ratty – Diseases

There are many diseases that can be passed from rats to humans, some of which are deadly. While most people think of diseases like the bubonic plague when they think of rats, there are actually many different diseases that these animals can carry. Some of the more common ones include:

Salmonella: This bacteria is commonly found in rat droppings and can cause serious gastrointestinal illness in humans.

Hantavirus: This virus is carried by rodents and can cause severe respiratory illness in humans. It is often fatal.

Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection is transmitted through contact with rat urine and can cause a range of symptoms including fever, chills, headache, and muscle pain. In severe cases, it can lead to kidney damage or even death.

Rat-Bite Fever: As the name suggests, this disease is transmitted through bites or scratches from rats. It can cause a high fever, muscle pain, and headaches. In severe cases, it can lead to death.

Precautions Against Rodent Infestations

Preventing rodent infestations is crucial to avoid health risks and property damage. Here are some precautions you can take:

  • Seal Entry Points: Rodents can squeeze through small openings. Seal cracks, gaps, and holes in walls, floors, and foundations with materials like steel wool, wire mesh, or caulk.
  • Keep Food Sealed: Store food in airtight containers, including pet food. Clean up spills and crumbs promptly.
  • Garbage Management: Use tight-fitting lids on garbage cans and empty them regularly.
  • Remove Clutter: Eliminate piles of debris, old furniture, and other items that could provide nesting sites.
  • Landscaping: Keep shrubbery and vegetation trimmed away from buildings to reduce hiding places.
  • Proper Storage: Store firewood and other materials at least 18 inches off the ground and away from buildings.
  • Regular Inspection: Check for signs of rodents like droppings, gnaw marks, and nests. Act promptly if you suspect an infestation.
  • Professional Pest Control: Consider hiring a pest control professional for regular inspections and treatments, especially in high-risk areas.

By taking these precautions, you can reduce the likelihood of a rodent infestation in your home or property.

What is Rat Baiting and Why do it?

Rat baiting is the practice of using poisoned baits to control rat populations. It’s done to reduce the number of rats in an area, particularly in urban or agricultural settings where rats can pose health risks and damage property.

Rats can carry diseases like leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and rat-bite fever, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with rat feces, urine, or saliva. They can also cause damage by gnawing on structures, wires, and food supplies.

Baiting is often considered an effective method for controlling rat populations because it can target multiple rats at once. However, it’s important to use baits safely and responsibly to avoid harming non-target animals and pets.

Signs of an Infestation

If you have rats in your home, there are several signs that can indicate an infestation. One of the most obvious signs is the presence of rat droppings. Rat droppings are small, dark, and pellet shaped. They are often found in areas where rats travel or congregate, such as along baseboards or in pantries.

Another sign of an infestation is the presence of gnawed food packaging or other materials. Rats are known for their tendency to gnaw on just about anything, including wood, plastic, and even metal. If you find evidence of gnawing around your home, it’s likely that rats are responsible.

You may also notice strange squeaking or scratching noises coming from within your walls or ceiling. These noises are made by rats as they move around in their nests. If you hear these noises, it’s a good indicator that you have an infestation on your hands.


Are you at risk ?

Microbes Ol' Ratty

Further Reading

How much damage can rats and mice do to your home?


Rodents in the hood

Creatures of the night

Why choose Sydneys Best Pest Control for a rodent treatment

Keeping rodents away

The 3ds of pest control


Typical questions about this topic

  • What diseases can rats and mice transmit to humans?
  • How do rats and mice spread diseases?
  • What are the health risks associated with rats and mice in the home?
  • Can you get sick from breathing in mouse or rat urine?
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