The best-known and most dangerous rodent species for humans are the black rat, the house rat and the vole. Although they are considered wild animals, these rodents have been adapting to urban conditions and environments, taking advantage of the interior of buildings to create nests, or simply to find hiding places that allow them to access food.
What are the main health risks in case of rat infestation?
There are several serious problems associated with a rat infestation, but health risks remain the most dangerous consequence. It is common for urban pests to be responsible for the transmission of bacteria and, often, diseases. In the case of rats, there are some diseases to highlight.
Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria present in the urine of infected mice. There are several reports of cases of contamination through unsanitized stored packaging after being in contact with a rat infestation. This disease affects both humans and animals and, if not treated properly, the victim can develop kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and breathing difficulties.
2. Rat bite fever
Rat bite fever is transmitted to humans in about 10% of reported rat bites. It is usually caused by rat bites, but can be caused by the bite of any rodent and mainly affects urban dwellers living in overcrowded conditions. The typical causative organism varies by geographic region, with the most common organism in Europe being Streptobacillus moniliformis . Despite the name, this disease can also be transmitted by a scratch or by eating food or water contaminated with rat droppings.
3. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or Hantavirus
It is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. It is a rare but fatal disease that can be contracted when breathing in the virus through the air. The most effective method of preventing this disease remains control of the rat plague.
How to identify a rat plague?
Rats leave parallel grooves with their sharp incisors. As they need constant gnawing, this is often the first sign of a rat infestation. Look for marks on baseboards, furniture, electrical cables, boxes and packaging (especially cereal).
2. Stains and footprints
Rodents leave fat marks wherever they go. Check the walls and any surface that shows an unusual coloration. The spots may be continuous or more widely spaced depending on the mouse species.
3. Excrements and odors
The droppings vary depending on the type of rodent, but, in general, they are dark and measure between 3 to 6 cm. In case of rat infestation, you are likely to find droppings in and under cupboards and in corners of the house. It is also possible that you suspect the presence of rats by the existence of strange odors, the result of feces, urine and decomposition.
Pay attention to strange noises, especially at night.
What to do in case of rat infestation?
Discard any food with signs of gnawing. If in doubt, discard all packaging that may have been in contact with rodents — rat saliva contains bacteria that are harmful to humans.
If you find any dead mice, equip yourself with gloves and a mask before touching them. There are hundreds of mouse traps that you can buy or make yourself, but if you suspect an infestation , it's best to take action with the most effective products to control this pest.
Discover our recommendations here and do not hesitate to get in touch with us to clarify any doubts.