The Signs And Symptoms Of Rodent Diseases

Rodent diseases

Rats and mice damage the structure of your property and nibble your food. But what’s worse is that they can cause serious rodent diseases. 

Atticare is the premier provider of attic and crawl space services in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New Jersey. We provide quality attic clean up and rodent proofing services and we’d like to share our knowledge with you. 

How do rodents spread disease? In this post we cover it all, plus what diseases are caused by rodents.

That way you and your family can avoid both rat diseases and mouse diseases.

What Diseases Are Caused By Rodents?

The idea of rodents in the kitchen just seems disgusting. As you’d imagine there’s a high risk of diarrhea and food poisoning.

Also there are several more serious diseases that are caused by rats and mice. And these can be viruses or bacterial infections. So your chances of getting sick from mouse droppings, bites and their mites are higher than you might hope.

Here’s a rundown of common rodent diseases. 


Hantavirus is common throughout most of the USA and is spread by white-footed mice, deer mice, cotton rats, and rice rats.

You get hantavirus in several ways. Being bitten is the most obvious, but also through contact with their feces or urine. This even includes breathing in soiled dust.

Hantavirus has an extraordinarily long incubation period of up to 8 weeks, although you can get sick in the first week too. And here are the symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Coughing and shortness of breath

Rat-Bite Fever

This one is a really dangerous disease spread by rats to humans. It’s a bacterial infection that can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics. Here’s what the symptoms look like.

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • A rash

The symptoms appear about 3-10 days after exposure, although they can be as late as 3 weeks. 

And here’s how you get it.

  • Contact with dead rodents carrying the bacteria.
  • Bites or scratches.
  • Consuming food or drink contaminated with infected feces.


This one’s another of the potentially fatal diseases spread by rats to humans.

Leptospirosis symptoms are vague, changeable, and hard to diagnose.

  • High fever
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Body and muscular aches
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice

Alternatively, people with leptospirosis can be totally asymptomatic.

But if leptospirosis is diagnosed it needs to be treated or it can lead to kidney damage, liver failure, meningitis or respiratory issues.

You can get it through food or drink that has been contaminated with the urine of the infected rodents. Or if you’re working outside, contact with contaminated soil.

Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)

Normally the symptoms are like a really bad flu: fever, muscle aches and vomiting. However, for pregnant women it’s much more dangerous. LCM has been linked to the following.

  • Miscarriage.
  • Mental disabilities in the baby.
  • Congenital hydrocephalus (a buildup of excess fluid in the baby’s brain).
  • Chorioretinitis (inflammation inside the eye).

It’s easy to catch LCM, unfortunately. For two reasons.


All you need to do is breathe in dust that’s contaminated with rodent urine or feces.


It’s spread primarily by the common “house mouse”. And the CDC estimates that about 5% of house mice in the United States carry LCM. This means your chances of getting sick from mouse droppings is higher than you’d like.


This is the name for the disease caused by salmonella bacteria. We normally associate salmonella with eating chicken or eggs, but it’s also among the diseases caused by rat droppings.

Below are the main symptoms that indicate you’ve ingested salmonella in your food or drink.

  • Blood in your stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cramps and diarrhea
  • Fever and chills

Salmonella isn’t usually deadly unless the patient has a weakened immune system.

How Do Rodents Spread Disease?

Rodents tearing up your attic insulation to make nests is even less appealing when you consider the diseases they spread. So how do they do it? 

Rodent Diseases From Dust

You can get very serious viruses from breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or feces. They’re diseases caused by rat droppings, and also droppings from mice and muskrats. 

Here are the viruses you can catch through dust. 

  • Hantavirus (as we talked about above) 
  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome 
  • Lassa fever
  • Lymphocytic chiro-meningitis

Dust is hard to avoid so your chances of getting sick from mouse droppings are higher than other means of transmission. 

Rodent Diseases From Bites and Scratches 

As you can see, the list of what you can catch is no laughing matter. 

  • The bubonic plague
  • Leptospirosis
  • Tularemia
  • Salmonellosis
  • Rat-bite fever

For this reason, if you have more than a couple of rodents in your home, it’s best to hire a professional team to get rid of them.

The pros have specialist clothing to prevent scratches and bites completely. 

Catching Rodent Diseases From Pests That Feed On Dead Rodents Or That Live On Rodents

Ticks, mites and mosquitos can be vectors of diseases spread by rats to humans. 

  • Lyme disease
  • West Nile Virus
  • Babesosis
  • Murine typhus
  • La Crosse Encephalitis

It’s impossible to eliminate mosquitoes if you’re in New Jersey, the San Francisco Bay area, and especially in Los Angeles.

So it’s vital to get great rodent control as soon as you suspect that they’re in your home. 

Help Avoid Rodent Diseases By Rodent Proofing Your Home

There are easy measures that you can take yourself to prevent rodent infestations. 

  • Sweep your kitchen floor every night.
  • Wipe down kitchen surfaces regularly. 
  • Seal all trash in closed metal cans.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum so there are fewer nesting options. 

Call Atticare For Swift Rodent Removal And Rodent Proofing 

Now you know the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings, scratches or infected bugs are considerable. So don’t risk putting your family at risk from diseases caused by rat droppings, dust or bites. 

Atticare is a top-rated insulation contractor offering attic and crawl space services in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New Jersey. And that means we deal with rodents every day.

Call our rodent removal experts today on (866) 692-5449 or contact us online. 


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