Do Rats Bite and Transmit Disease?
There aren’t any recorded cases of transmission of rabies from a rats bite, but it’s still better to be cautious than sorry.
Rats have sharp teeth that can inflict agonizing bites. Healthy rats normally avoid an encounter with humans and nest in isolated areas.
However, when threatened they do not hesitate to bite to protect themselves. Their saliva carries life-threatening viruses, such as the Hantavirus. They have also been known to transmit tetanus.
The marks that a rats bite leaves are either shallow or deep. Abrasions, concussion, puncture wounds, and bleeding in severe cases from rats bites are common.
Although the chances of an infection are minimal, it is advised to vaccinate and disinfect rodent bites promptly. There aren’t any recorded cases of transmission of rabies from a rats bite, but it’s still better to be cautious than sorry.
Signs and Symptoms of A Rat’s Bite
Rats are nimble and agile. Once they’ve made a move to bite someone it’s difficult to stop them. Sometimes the bites are inconspicuous.
This is why it is important to know the symptoms of a rats bite:
- Red skin
- Joint pains
A rats bite containing streptobacillus coci, a bacterial agent, may cause a fever which could result in vomiting and a headache. Such symptoms around 10 days after the initial bite when the wound has completely healed.
If the infection is not disinfected and metastasized it can lead to the development of pus. Rat-bite fever is also a possibility. Its symptoms are similar to those recorded in bacterial infections.
In the event of a wild rat bite, the infectious wound needs the application of special medication, such as a tetanus shot, to disinfect it.
If you see any signs and symptoms of a rats bite seek medical help immediately. Symptoms show themselves in 3-21 days.
Diseases Transmitted by A Rat’s Bite
Millions of homes around the world have rat infestations. Rats are uninvited house guests that nest for as long they please. The diseases they bring along with themselves pose a serious health concern to you and your family.
They carry more than 70 diseases that lead to serious illnesses, and sometimes even death. Before delving into the deadly diseases they spread, it’s important to look into the several routes through which they are transmitted:
- A rodent’s nest contains left-over scent, excrements, and other nesting material. Exposure to either of these can lead to the transmission of disease.
- A direct bite from a disease-carrying rat.
- Contacts with rodents – Some viruses do not require a wound to enter into your bloodstream. They can infect you merely by skin contact.
HantaVirus is largely transmitted by the white-footed mouse, rice rat, and the cotton rat. It is a deadly disease that doesn’t have a cure or treatment as of yet. Symptoms of this lethal infection include chronic fatigue, muscle spasms, high fever, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Lymphocitic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV)
House mice carry and spread LCMV. This disease unravels in two stages:
- Stage One – nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and other typical symptoms of rat-bite fever appear
- Stage Two – neurological pathways are infected, leading to meningitis, meningoencephalitis, and encephalitis
Francisella Tularemia is an infectious agent that is found in rabbits but exists predominantly in rodents. It is a life-threatening illness and has taken the lives of many people over the years.
Strict adherence to medication including strong antibiotics is used to treat this infection. Its common symptom is high fever, similar to the one observed in patients suffering from Malaria.
The digestive tract of rodents is filled with Salmonella.
Accidental contact with their feces or urine can transmit infection.
Vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps, and chills are symptoms.
Deer mice are the predominant rodent species that carries Lyme disease. The tick bite is its primary agent. It’s prevalent in many parts of the country and has grave symptoms which include skin lesions, fever, headaches, and arthralgia.
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS)
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) is a syndicate of viral infections spread by rodents. It is of two types.
- Epidemic hemorrhagic fever
- Korean hemorrhagic fever
Related Article: “Types of Rats and What They Look Like”
Another disease transmitted after contact with rodent excrement. A rat infestation that leaves grease marks, droppings and aerosolized urine need a thorough cleaning.
The risk of airborne viruses also looms in left-over scents of past rat infestations and can pose a serious threat.
The symptoms of this disease include:
- Severe headaches
- Spinal discomfort
- Abdominal cramps
- Blurred vision
- Bloodshot eyes
- Redness and Rashes
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney failure
What Can I do If A Rat Bites Me?
Several measures are advised following a rats bite:
- Stop the bleeding and disinfect the wound with rubbing alcohol or soap.
- Thoroughly clean the wound, and make sure that there isn’t any left-over disinfectant inside or around the wound after application.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover the wound with a clean cloth or cotton
- Remove jewelry, such as rings or bracelets, if you were bit on your fingers so that the site doesn’t swell
- Rush to the nearest hospital and vaccinate yourself with a tetanus shot
- Do not administer the shot yourself. Let a physician evaluate the wounds on your face and hands. Sometimes, scarring and loss of sensory function results due to negligence
Now that we’ve established that rats bite and transmit diseases it’s time for you to do your part. Protect yourself from a rat infestation, and the lethal diseases they bring.***