5 Surprising Diseases Norway Rats Carry

rat sitting on a log

You may not know this but Norway rats make great pets. They are clean animals that are just about as faithful as a dog. Ask any pet store owner. But, what makes a Norway rat a great pet, actually makes it a horrible guest in your house.

Norway rats (also called Norwegian rats) are continual groomers. Plus, they can actually be potty trained. It's true! So, you can pick your pet rat up and snuggle him all you want. But, that grooming trait doesn't work so well for Norway rats that spend their days climbing in dumpers or running through sewers.

You are no doubt aware that rats can contaminate food and are directly linked to salmonella outbreaks. And, you can probably connect the dots and figure out that rat-bite fever is a disease rats transmit. But here are five diseases that may surprise you.

  • Plague: You may think that the plague ended in the dark ages, but it did not. And, just as rats were responsible for spreading this disease then, they are responsible for spreading it now. It isn't that they carry plague inside their bodies, but rather, they are the means by which plague-infested fleas can get into your home. And, while it is true that there are treatments that prevent plague-related deaths, it's no fun to get the plague. That is probably why they called it the plague.
  • Murine typhus: This is an ectoparasite that can be found in rats, but is transmitted to humans by fleas that feed on infected rats.
  • Lyme disease: You may think this is a disease that is only found to be carried by ticks, and you would be right. But, since deer ticks are small enough to live on rats, tick diseases are indirectly associated with rats.
  • Other tick-borne diseases: Here are other diseases rats may indirectly bring into your home: human anaplasmosis, babesiosis, RMSF, ehrlichiosis, Powassan virus, STARI, and tularemia.
  • Leptospirosis: This is a bacterial disease humans can get by coming in contact with infected water. This can be contracted by touch or by drinking.

On top of all the diseases that rats spread, they are also known to transfer harmful bacteria from dirty places to food prep areas and food storage. This can lead to symptoms, such as diarrhea, fever, stomach aches, and vomiting that you may be tempted to blame on the flu or the common cold.

If Norway rats have gotten into your home, it is vital that you get them all out. The specialists here at Witt Pest Management draw from over a century of experience protecting homes and businesses from pests like the Norway rat. We can remove those rats and seal things up so that your family doesn't have to be surprised by rat-related illness. Get protected today.

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