Five Reasons Why A Rat Infestation Is Bad News

Rats have something of an unfortunate reputation. They were blamed for the spread of bubonic plague during the Middle Ages and even today the sight of a rat scuttling down a drain pipe is enough to put the fear of God into many people. However, although tame rats make great pets, wild rats can cause a lot of problems for humans. So how worried should you be if you think you have rats sharing your living space?

Rat Borne Disease

Rats are responsible for the spread of many serious diseases, not least the Bubonic Plague, as we’ve already mentioned, although to be fair it is not the rats per se but the fleas that live on the rats that spread the disease. Unfortunately, plague is the least of your worries should you come into contact with rats. Other nasty diseases spread by rats include:

Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) – Transmitted via rat bites and scratches, leptospirosis is a very nasty infection that can lead to kidney and liver failure.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) – LCMV is transmitted via rat urine and saliva. It is a viral infection and although some people don’t suffer many ill effects, others can become very poorly and experience many long-term complications.

Hantavirus – A few species of rats are responsible for the transmission of Hantavirus, a serious respiratory viral infection that is fatal if not treated very quickly.

Rat Allergies

Rats shed hair and dander, so if you are allergic to any of these things, having rats in close proximity will do nothing for your health. Before long you will be sneezing and wheezing and breaking out in rashes. And if you suffer from asthma, an allergic reaction to rats could cause you serious breathing problems.

Environmental Health Shut Down

If you own a restaurant or any premises serving food, a rat infestation is not likely to be good for business. Not surprisingly, patrons tend not to come back if they have spotted a rat in the kitchen area. You may also run into problems with environmental health inspectors if they find any evidence that rats are in the vicinity. Rat droppings are bad enough, but if the inspector comes across a live rat, you can kiss your business goodbye for the foreseeable future.

Property Woes

When the time comes to sell your home, it doesn’t matter how amazing it looks if you have rats scurrying around when viewers come to take a look. You could try distracting their attention by pointing out the period features and amazing kitchen, but they are still unlikely to be enthused at the thought of buying a rat infested property.

The Stench

Rats smell a lot. Their urine stinks, as does their droppings, and if they happen to keel over from old age or poison whilst lurking under the floorboards or inhabiting the wall cavities, their rotting carcasses will cause a horrible stench for months.

Rats are surprisingly common, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them in the hope they move on. Once you are certain you have an infestation, it needs dealing with as soon as possible. You can buy traps and poison,but if the infestation is serious or in a commercial premises, call in a rat control expert.

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The author of this article, Joana Sterling, works at ICE, a decade old pest control company based in Toronto. Joana loves to cook and enjoys hosting dinner parties at her place.

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