Research, Technology

Why are city rats dangerous to people?

In the middle of the XIV century, Asia and Europe walkedThe Black Death is the name of a plague pandemic that claimed the lives of about 25 million people. Its causative agent is the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which entered the human body through rats and other rodents. These animals are still considered carriers of a huge number of deadly diseases and that is why people try to avoid them. But it is extremely difficult to do this, because they live in huge numbers in the basements of residential buildings, industrial buildings, as well as in outbuildings. They are extremely hardy and can cover a distance of 50 kilometers in one day. And here is another frightening fact - they perfectly jump to a height of up to 100 centimeters and bite people. Knowing all this, it becomes very scary, because what if they become the cause of another pandemic?

Rats are carriers of a huge number of diseases, but what are the most common?


  • 1 What diseases do rats carry?
    • 1.1 Leptospirosis
    • 1.2 Q fever
    • 1.3 Erythema creeping
  • 2 Danger of city rats

What diseases do rats carry?

According to scientists, rats are carriers of up to200 types of pathogens and parasites. They can infect a person both through a painful bite and through physical contact - there is reason to believe that the plague was transmitted to people from fleas with which they were infected. There are at least three dangerous diseases that can be transmitted to humans from rodents. For example, about 80% of urban rats are carriers of leptospirosis.

Plague bacillus Yersinia pestis


This disease is caused by bacteriaLeptospira. In addition to rats, they can be found in dogs, cattle and other animals. Leptospira bacteria are usually excreted in the urine, so people usually become infected through contact with animals or food.

Leptospira bacteria under the microscope

Leptospirosis can be transmittedasymptomatic or severe. In the second case, a person's body temperature rises, his head and body hurt, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms occur. Death can occur in case of complications - if left untreated, damage to the kidneys, the membranes of the eyes, and so on can occur. Leptospirosis is usually diagnosed in people who, due to their work, have close contact with animals: veterinarians, farmers, and so on.

Q fever

This disease is caused by bacteriaspecies Coxiella burnetii. They can enter the body by inhalation of dust with rodent excrement. In most cases, the disease makes itself felt strongly and suddenly, the most common symptoms are headache and lower back pain, a feeling of fatigue, loss of appetite and sleep disturbance. Body temperature can rise to 40 degrees, but in general complications are rare.

The bacteria Coxiella burnetii

Q fever is also treated with antibiotics. Patients are also advised to stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids. Fortunately, deaths from this disease are very rare.

Creeping erythema

This disease occurs when it enters the bodyErysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. They enter the human body as a result of contact with rats, contaminated food or urine with feces. This is a skin disease, so symptoms include red or purple skin tone, burning, and other types of discomfort. Also, a person feels weak, his temperature rises and complications arise, such as damage to internal organs, blood poisoning, and so on. With timely treatment, mortality is also low.

Bacteria I Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae alone and in colony


Danger of city rats

Sometimes huge rodents can be found even inlarge cities, so the risk of infection is always there. However, scientists recently announced that urban rats are not as scary as wild ones. The fact is that they are already quite well studied and people know what to expect from them. But wild individuals can be infected with diseases unknown to scientists - they can be transmitted to them from other animals, mutate and become more dangerous. However, according to researcher Greg Albery (Greg Albery), they still do not need to come close. Nobody wants to deal with the diseases that were listed above?

City rats are less dangerous than wild ones

Thus it turns out that the city ratsunlikely to cause another plague. However, if a hypothetical bat with dangerous pathogens infects a rat, and the rat begins to live near humans, this could very well happen. Therefore, scientists believe that wild animals should be monitored as carefully as possible.

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Finally, it is worth noting that rats can transmit other diseases, including Lassa fever. Read more about it in this material - a must!