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Rat diseases

Do you know? Rats reproduce quickly and can have up to six litters of up to eight pups yearly!

Rodents such as rats and mice carry a wide range of disease-causing organisms. As a result, rat infestations can cause serious illness and impact businesses negatively. Rat control and prevention play an important role in minimising the spread of diseases.  

Call Rentokil at (65) 6347 8138 to find the best pest control advice for your home or business.

Hantavirus

What is Hantavirus?

  • Several groups of rodent-borne viruses

Transmission to humans

  • Humans may be infected via

-Contact with rat’s urine, faeces or saliva

-Consumption of contaminated food and beverage

-An infected rat’s bite

  • May cause severe respiratory infections including Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS)

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

  • Fatality rate of up to 36%
  • Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, rashes, fatigue, muscle ache, abdominal pain and dry cough with breathing difficulty
  • May cause multiple organ failures
  • Treatment includes supportive therapy such as oxygen therapy, fluid replacement, renal dialysis and blood pressure management

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS)

  • Fatality rate ranges from 5-15%
  • Symptoms usually develop within 1-2 weeks or may develop up to 8 weeks later
  • Early symptoms include headache, abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea and blurred vision
  • Other late symptoms include low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage and acute kidney failure
  • Treatment includes supportive therapy such as oxygen therapy, fluid replacement, renal dialysis and blood pressure management

Leptospirosis

What is Leptospirosis?

  • A bacterial disease that is transmitted from animals to humans
  • Animals that transmit the infection include rodents, rats, dogs, cattle

Transmission to humans

  • Spread through contact with water or soil contaminated by the urine of infected animals
  • Consumption of contaminated food and beverages
  • Bacteria enters the human body through contact with open wounds, eyes or mucous membranes

Symptoms

  • Common symptoms include fever, severe headache, chills, vomiting and red eyes
  • Leptospirosis can lead to severe diseases and even death. These diseases include jaundice, weil's disease, meningitis, lung bleeding, haemorrhage into skin and mucous membranes

Treatment

  • Slow recovery
  • Treated with antibiotics
  • Intravenous antibiotics and fluids may be necessary for those with severe developments
  • Complications resulting from severe diseases such as meningitis and weil’s disease may require specialised care and supportive treatments

Rat Bite Fever

What is Rat Bite Fever?

  • Bacterial disease transmitted by animals including rodents, weasels and squirrels

Transmission to humans

  • Spread by contact with the urine and mucous secretions of infected animals

Symptoms

  • Bites usually heal fast, however, other symptoms may develop
  • 3 to 10 days after contact with the bacteria, symptoms that may develop include fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, muscle pain, rashes, joint pain and swelling
  • Within 2 to 4 days after the onset of fever, rashes and swollen joints may develop

Treatment

  • Treated with antibiotics
  • Intravenous antibiotics may be necessary for those with severe bites
  • If left untreated, streptobacillary rat-bite fever can result in infection in the lining of the heart, spinal cord, brain or lungs
  • Potentially fatal

Salmonellosis

What is Salmonellosis?

  • Bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract
  • Two species including Salmonella enterica and S. bongori

Transmission to humans

  • Consumption of food and beverages contaminated with infected rodent faeces
  • An infected person can spread the disease through contact with another
  • Good hand hygiene and washroom sanitation can minimise transmissions between humans

Symptoms

  • Symptoms typically occur between 12 to 36 hours after exposure
  • Common symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and vomiting

Treatment

  • Treated with antibiotics
  • Possible to recover in a few days with just replacement of body fluids
  • Intravenous fluids may be necessary for severe cases

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis

What is Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis?

  • Rodent-borne infection
  • Varying severity

Transmission to humans

  • Open contact with infected rodents’ saliva, urine and faeces
  • Through the bite of an infected rodent
  • Infected through the inhalation of infectious aerosolized particles
  • Consumption of contaminated food

Symptoms

  • 8 to 13 days after exposure, fever, muscle aches, headaches, nausea and vomiting may occur
  • Following a few days of recovery, a second phase of illness may occur. Symptoms may include

-Meningitis, with fever, headache and stuff neck

-Encephalitis with drowsiness, confusion and body paralysis

-Meningoencephalitis with inflammation of the brain

  • Severe cases may lead to acute hydrocephalus or increased fluids on the brain which requires emergency surgery to relieve the pressure in the brain

Treatment

  • Treatment options depend on the severity of the disease
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed
  • If meningitis, encephalitis or meningoencephalitis develops, hospitalisation is required

Typhus

What is Typhus?

  • Disease caused by bacteria transmitted through infected arthropods such as fleas, mites, lice and ticks
  • Arthropods are infected when they bite infected animals such as rats and rodents
  • There are 3 different strains of typhus including epidemic, endemic and scrub
  • Arthropods are typically carriers of a typhus strain unique to their species

Transmission to humans

  • When an infected arthropod bites a person, an open wound is created
  • The infected arthropod is expected to defecate when they feed
  • The faeces can cause infection through contact with the open wound

Epidemic

  • Caused by Rickettsia prowazekii
  • Carried by ticks
  • Symptoms include high fever, rashes, confusion and low blood pressure

Endemic

  • Caused by Rickettsia typhi
  • Carried by the rat flea
  • Symptoms are similar to epidemic typhus but may include dry cough, vomiting and diarrhoea

Scrub

  • Caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi
  • Carried by mites
  • Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, sores and cough

Symptoms

  • Symptoms start 2 weeks after contact with infected fleas
  • Signs that are associated with all types of typhus include fever, chills, muscle ache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cough and rashes
  • Untreated typhus may lead to organ damage and death

Treatment

  • Treat with antibiotics

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