Skip to Content
Go-Forth Pest Control is now Go-Forth Home Services!

Are Rats Health Risks?


I have not been sleeping well for the past few days. My productivity at work has seen a nosedive because of it. My time for my daughters have been cut into just a few quality minutes, then my mind would just wander, thinking about what could be done. Why is it? Well, we just have a bad case of rat infestation, and it is driving me nuts.

I know that my case is nothing compared to what others have experienced with mice. Rats are disease carriers and have caused the deaths of millions of people worldwide. What have they done to me? They only ate our food on the table, nibbled on my important documents and on my favorite books, urinated on our clothes, and left their droppings everywhere.  

Rats As Pests

Rats can be such a nuisance, their ability to gnaw through plastic, wood, and cardboard enable them to do so much damage inside our homes. Books and papers are sitting ducks, as well as clothes in our cabinets. They can contaminate our food with their urine, droppings, and saliva.

They are also disease carriers. Hantavirus, leptospirosis, rat bite fever, and the plague are some of the diseases they carry.

Some Facts About Rats

Okay, just like me, I know you are very eager to get rid of rats in your home. But just like what the great ancient Chinese warrior Sun Tzu said, “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not to fear the result of a hundred battles.”  Same with rats, know their appearance, their habits, where they frequent, where their nests are, how to effectively kill them, and what to avoid when being confronted by a rat problem.

Rats belong to the rodent family, and they are considered the medium size. They have long tails, longer than their bodies. Compared to mice, rats are larger, with longer bodies and longer legs.

One reason it is very hard to eradicate rats from the face of the earth is that they breed easily.  A newborn rat can breed as soon as they reach 5 weeks old and can continue to do so for two years. Please take note too, that rats have a great memory. Once they learn of a new path, they never forget it their entire lives. They are highly social animals. They stick together in groups called packs. They are emotional as much as they are intelligent. They feel lonely when left alone, and feel sad when they lose a loved one. They also laugh and giggle when they play.

Just one of the reasons I hate them so much is that rats chew on anything. They chew on cardboard, papers, boxes, and food! The reason they do this is that their incisors constantly grow longer. Gnawing prevents it from growing longer. So the destruction they create may just be an example of dealing with the cards that they are dealt, but I do not have to deal with that alongside them, for sure. They are also good swimmers and can hold their breath for at least 3 minutes.

The Dangers Of Rats

Be wary of their presence, because you are definitely in danger with them around. Here are some of the diseases they can transmit to humans:

  • Rat Bite Fever -  a disease contracted by humans after getting in contact with rats infected with the bacteria Streptobacillus moniliformis and Spirillum minus. Another form of this disease is Haverhill fever. This one is almost similar, except that it is contracted by ingesting food, water, or other liquids that are contaminated by rodents. Signs and symptoms are similar, but with more severe vomiting and sore throat. Those who are at high risk in getting this disease are those who keep rats as pets. People who work near rats are also vulnerable. Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, muscle pains.
  • Plague - Plague is a very serious illness and needs immediate attention when these symptoms occur. The most common forms of plague are bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonia. The bubonic plague results from an infected rodent flea bit and caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. It is characterized by the appearance of swollen, tender lymph nodes usually found in the armpits and the groin. The bacteria can spread into the other parts of the body if not treated with the right antibiotics. The Septicemic plague has for its symptoms; fever, abdominal pain, weakness, chills, shock, and bleeding skin. Skins on the nose, fingers, and toes may turn black. This disease results from the bite of an infected flea or other infected animals. Lastly, the pneumonic plague stems from an untreated bubonic or septicemic plague and is the most fatal form of the disease. Symptoms include fever, weakness, headache, and pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and bloody or watery mucus.  Person to person transfer is also possible for this disease.
  • The Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) - This one is a severe respiratory disease caused by the hantavirus infection. It can be a fatal disease. This disease is transmitted via direct contact with rats. Humans become infected through exposure or inhalation of rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. Early symptoms are fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Other ways of getting this disease are: an infected rat bites a human, touching something that has been contaminated with rodent droppings, urine, or saliva and then touching your nose or mouth, and eating food that is contaminated by rodent droppings, urine, or saliva can also transfer the virus.
  • Leptospirosis - A bacterial disease that can infect humans and animals and is caused by the genus Leptospira. If not treated, this disease can lead to kidney damage, liver failure, or worse, even death. Signs and symptoms include headache, vomiting, nausea, high fever, jaundice, red eyes, rashes, and abdominal pains. This disease is treated with antibiotics.
  • Salmonellosis - This disease is contracted by ingesting food and water that is contaminated by rat feces or urine. 

How We Can Manage The Rat Population

To avoid these diseases, eliminating rats all together is of utmost importance.  Here are some ways to effectively control the rat population in your homes:

  • Sanitation Is Key - Sanitation is the backbone of all efforts to eradicate rats.  If this fails, all other efforts will be for naught and you will soon find rats in your home again. Keep in mind that if we are good at housekeeping, the hiding places and the food source of these rats will disappear, and so will the rats. Dispose of your trash properly. Your garbage bins should be covered tightly.
  • Seal Holes Inside And Outside The Home - Rats can enter our homes through holes. Look for these small gaps around doors, the kitchen cabinets, around windows, in the basement, the sinks, around the foundation, and anywhere you think there could be holes.
  • Use Traps - Snap trap is still the most effective traps for rats. Read the instructions carefully before setting the trap. A bait, you can use peanut butter the size of a pea. Place the snap trap beside the wall as mice feel defenseless when they are away from the walls. If you notice, the area near the walls is their comfort zone.
  • Eliminate Their Food And Water Source - Place food inside sealed containers. Because the rat’s incisors are very sharp and can nibble even hard materials, use thick plastic or metal containers. Rats are capable of chewing through cardboard so remove your food from cardboard packages.
  • Clean Up - Remove clutter around the house. Old papers, boxes, and cardboard that just sit around your house are favorite hiding places for rodents.
  • Eliminate Moisture In Your Homes - Fix leaking pipes, leaking faucets, and clogged drains. Rats like to breed in these areas.

Like I have said, I am more inclined to use professional services to take care of my rat problems than to do the extermination myself.  It is much safer for me, and for you too, because they know what to do. Of course, I would not settle for anything less than the best. And to me, the best in pest control here in Jamestown NC is Go-Forth Home Services.

Why Do I Trust Go-Forth Home Services?

Go-Forth Home Services has a team of highly skilled and well-trained pest experts who can get the job done. They use only the latest and the most advanced technology in the business, while employing the most family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination, so you are assured of our family’s safety.

Go-Forth Home Services has excellent experience in exterminating pests, pests that include rats, termites, ants, spiders, roaches, centipedes, mice, bed bugs, weevils, and moths.

The company has also earned the trust of residents and business establishments in Jamestown for more than 50 years. In fact, you may check Facebook, Twitter, Google, and many other blogs online and you can see the overwhelmingly positive response from their satisfied customers.

To set an appointment for the local pest exterminator in Jamestown NC, you may call them at (877) 274-1475.