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Tips & Advice

What Diseases Do Rodents Carry?

Posted October 1, 2015

Rodents are more than just nuisances; in addition to burrowing into your home and chewing through your belongings, they can spread diseases to the members of your family. This is why it is important to work with a professional crawl space insulation company near the Greater Seattle Area and seek rodent exclusion services. Rodent exclusion can help you avoid harmful diseases like Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Leptospirosis, and plague. Keep reading if you would like to take a closer look at some of the diseases that rodents carry.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

You might find rodents that carry Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or HPS, throughout most areas of North America. Common transporters of the virus include rice rats, deer mice, and white-footed mice.These rodents can spread HPS in a few different ways. Rats and mice may contaminate an area with their urine or droppings; if you inhale dust from that area, you may develop HPS. You can also contract this virus by touching the rat or mouse directly, or handling its waste. In some cases, you can develop HPS after being bitten by a carrier rat or mouse. Inhalation and direct contact, however, are much more common. Symptoms of HPS include dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath.


Some rodents are known to carry Leptospirosis. Like HPS, this disease spreads in more than one way. You can develop this bacterial disease when your skin or mucous membranes are exposed to contaminated water or when you eat contaminated food. This disease can be difficult to deal with because it does not always produce symptoms. Those who do exhibit symptoms may experience chills, red eyes, rashes, or diarrhea. This potentially fatal disease can eventually lead to kidney damage and liver failure if left untreated.


Another bacterial disease, plague spreads with the help of a variety of rodents including wood rats, rock squirrels, and chipmunks. The western side of the United States is particularly susceptible to exposure, and the disease spreads through infected animals and their fleas. If you have recently contacted a wild rodent and begin to feel unwell, seek medical help immediately.