Rodents and pests are stereotyped that they are dirty and carry diseases. While this can be true, how true is it?

Due to winter, rats and mice seek shelter in homes and buildings. If you experience a rodent infestation, you may be exposed to diseases. Rodent health hazards include various zoonotic diseases – meaning that these illnesses can be transferred from animals to people (including being spread to humans indirectly).

What diseases can be spread by rats and mice?

The CDC has outlined what diseases can be directly and indirectly transmitted by rodents, and some of them are pretty scary in what effects they can have on humans.


Starting with muscle aches and fatigue, Hantavirus is life-threatening and is fatal to 38% of people diagnosed with this disease. This threat can be acquired from coming in contact with contaminated waste from an infected rodent, bite wounds, or something as simple as breathing in dust that contains particles or urine or feces from that mouse or rat.

There is no cure for this virus, so treatment is likely taking place in the intensive care units.


This spiral bacteria not only can infect the unwelcome rodents in the home but also the people and pets who live there. While some people who become infected experience chills, fever, vomiting, and jaundice, some never experience a prominent symptom.

Leptospirosis is commonly known for its adverse effects on the liver, including causing liver failure. There may be 2-4 weeks from exposure to showing signs – this exposure can be direct contact with rodent urine or drinking water that has been contaminated.

Rat-Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever is another bacteria that can cause muscle pains, fever, and a headache if contracted.

While known as rat-bite fever, some mice can transmit this bacteria per the CDC. For example, someone may contract this from direct contact with urine or fecal matter, contaminated food ingests, or from a bite.

A doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics if infected, as this bacteria will likely not require hospitalization and further medical intervention.


The last significant bacterial disease that rodents can bring to other species and give to humans directly, or transmitted indirectly, is Salmonella.

It is not as likely to be transmitted from the rodent to the person from direct contact but is much more commonly contracted from infected feces coming in contact with food and food sources.

One way to eliminate the possibility of spread is to cook your food. Thoroughly cooking food can kill Salmonella, but it is recommended to discard food that may be infected, to prevent the spread of this bacteria.

Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You cannot be given diseases from a rodent in the home if you do not have a rodent infestation. Click here to read more about what our specialists at University Termite and Pest Control recommend for pest control.

Contact us today for a free quote to remove your rodent health hazards.


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