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Rodents and Disease

Rodents and Disease

Rats and mice often tend to creep people out. Is that all just trained into us by decades of horror movies and centuries of Gothic novels? Or is there actually a good reason for this discomfort? Is their historical association with the Black Death legitimate or hysteria

Let’s take a look at what is (potentially) the scariest aspect – the diseases they might carry. 

Do Rodents Carry Disease?

The Center for Disease Control tells us that looking at it globally, rats and mice spread more than 35 diseases. This can happen through multiple vectors. 

It is not just rodent bites that can transmit disease… but also handling them or coming into contact with their saliva, urine, or feces. There is also the potential for indirect infection caused by the ticks, mites, or fleas that they often carry – which introduces an entirely different array of pathogens into the equation.

What Diseases Are Caused By Rodents?

If we limit ourselves only to direct infection, we still have a rather intimidating list of diseases caused by rodents: 

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Lassa Fever
  • Human Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Plague
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • South American Arenaviruses
  • Tularemia 

In addition to those with direct transmission, the CDC reports a list just as long of additional diseases indirectly transmitted – including things like West Nile Virus. It looks like that association with the Black Death was not an exaggeration. 

Is Hantavirus Common in Massachusetts?

Not only is hantavirus not common in Massachusetts… it is entirely absent. According to the Massachusetts State Website, “To date, there has not been a confirmed HPS case acquired in Massachusetts.” In fact, most hantavirus cases are found in the American Southwest.

Does Boston Have a Rat Problem?

The whole state does. In a recent report about the extraordinary measures being taken to combat this swelling population, WBUR radio tells us that between 2019 and 2021, Boston area rodent complaints rose 48% (per 311 data). If you’ve suddenly started seeing a rising presence of rodents over the past years, it is probably from this population boom. 

In addition, recent Census data shows that only Philadelphia has a higher instance of rodent sightings… a situation which inspired this report by Boston’s NBC Channel 10 – “Boston Ranks Second Most Rat Infested City.”  

Don’t Let The Rats Win! 

If you’re combating the rising rodent population, call Fox Pest Control to schedule an inspection. Don’t let rodents infiltrate your house and potentially cause damage, illness, and more. Our pest control experts will work with you to determine the precise strategy needed for your situation. For more information, contact Fox Pest Control today.

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