Rodent, of the order Rodentia, are any of more than 2,050 living species of mammals characterized by upper and lower pairs of ever-growing rootless incisor teeth. Rodents are the largest group of mammals, constituting almost half the class Mammalia’s approximately 4,660 species. They are indigenous to every land area except Antarctica. This huge order of animals encompasses 27families, including diverse groups such as porcupines, beavers, squirrels, marmots, pocket gophers, and chinchillas.
When it comes to spreading diseases, rodents are not innocent creatures. In fact, they are one of the most dangerous pests since they spread a range of diseases that can cause serious harm to humans, as well as their pets. Rodents can pose a serious threat to human health and can transmit disease to humans by a variety of means, including, contamination of food or utensils with rodent urine or faeces, contamination by direct contact with urine or faeces, where bacteria enter the skin through small scratches, indirect contamination via blood-sucking insects, indirect contamination via pets to humans, Contamination by directly biting humans, indirect contamination by being eaten by an intermediate carrier.
Rodents carry a wide range of disease-causing organisms, including many species of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminths (worms). They also act as vectors or reservoirs for many diseases via their ectoparasites such as fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, as well as some diseases carried by mosquitoes.
A study of rats on farms in the UK found 13 zoonotic (infect humans) parasites and 10 non-zoonotic parasites, with some rats having nine zoonotic parasites at the same time. Many of these had rarely or never previously been investigated in wild rats e.g. Cryptosporidium, Pasteurella, Listeria, Yersinia, Coxiella, and Hantavirus, showing that the threat to human health is greater than previously thought.
Historically rodents have played a profound role in the transmission of diseases to humans.
One of the most historically dangerous rat-borne diseases is the bubonic plague, also called “Black Plague,” and its variants. The “Black Death” (Bubonic Plague), which claimed more than 25 million lives in 14th Century Europe, is perhaps the most documented case history of rats and disease. Transfer of disease occurs when fleas from the rats bite human beings. The plague bacterium (Yersinia Pestis) was transmitted amongst rats and from rats to humans by the bite of the Oriental Rat Flea. Even today incidence of plague has not been entirely wiped out, but a closer understanding of the mechanism involved has seen a significant reduction in the occurrence of this dreaded disease. Fleas transported on rats are considered responsible for this plague during the Middle Ages, which killed millions. From the transmission of bubonic plague to typhus and hantavirus, rat infestations can prove harmful to human health.
Many species of rodent carry hantaviruses, especially voles and mice. Humans can catch this disease through contact with rodent urine, saliva, and faeces, by touch, contaminated food or drink, or from breathing in aerosolized particles.
There are two types of rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis nana and H. diminuta. Both species use a beetle (e.g. a flour beetle) as the main secondary host and are found in warm climates worldwide. H. nana is the most common as, unusually for helminths, it can have a complete life cycle in human intestines and spread from person to person through eggs in faeces. It attaches to the intestine wall and absorbs nutrients through the cells lining the intestine.
Rat bites and scratches can result in disease and rat-bite fever. Rat urine is responsible for the spread of leptospirosis, which can result in liver and kidney damage. It can also be contracted through handling or inhalation of scat. Complications include renal and liver failure, as well as cardiovascular problems.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), a viral infectious disease, is transmitted through the saliva and urine of rats. Some individuals experience long-term effects of lymphocytic choriomeningitis, while others experience only temporary discomfort.
Rats also are a potential source of allergens. Their droppings, dander and shed hair can cause people to sneeze and experience other allergic reactions.
Diseases transmitted by rats fall into one of two categories: diseases transmitted directly from exposure to rat-infected feces, urine or bites and diseases indirectly transmitted to people by an intermediate arthropod vector such as fleas, ticks or mites. While the following list of diseases or medical conditions are all associated with rats, most are not commonly encountered in the United States.
New tapeworm species infecting people in Alberta
By Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Farmer Express
There have only been five cases so far but experts are urging dog owners to take precautions
There’s a new parasite in Alberta being spread by coyotes, but there is no reason to be overly alarmed, says an infectious diseases expert.
“We’re definitely not trying to encourage wholesale panic,” said Stan Houston, a professor at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health.
The parasite, introduced from Europe, is a potentially lethal tapeworm and can infect humans through the feces of coyotes and dogs, and can also be spread through rodents.
The rare parasite is called Echinococcus multilocularis, and five cases have been found in Alberta so far, with the most recent one in Calgary last month.
“Unless it can be caught at a time when you can chop it all out, we can’t cure it with drugs,” said Houston.
Anyone who catches the parasite will have to be on medication for the rest of their life and it’s hard to get the required drug in Canada.
Nigeria’s large rat population threatens Lassa fever war
August 27, 2017, Punch
Toluwani Eniola writes on the menace of rats in Nigeria and how proper research on rodents can end incessant cases of Lassa fever
Jolted by the creak of the door, two rats darted in different directions, squeezing their bodies under the chair to hide.
Desperate to kill “his enemies” as he entered the room, Akin Ojo quickly grabbed a stick. Rats are his regular visitors and he had killed several of them in past weeks. He was ready to deal with them again.
As if they were anticipating his moves, the rats ran out from behind the chairs in separate directions.
In order to keep rodents away, many conventional methods are used which can be harmful to rodents and humans as well.
Is there any solution to keep rodents away and stop the spread of diseases?
Yes, there is a solution which is provided by CTech Corporation. RodrepelTM is an extremely low at toxicity, non-carcinogenic and non-mutagenic compound, non-hazardous, nondangerous and environmentally safe rodent repellent.
Our product is available in the form of a masterbatch, which can be directly incorporated in the cables while manufacturing them. Also, it is available in form of top coatings namely lacquer that can be directly applied as a top coat on the surface of cables and liquid solution which can be used in paints. RodrepelTM does not kill but only keeps the rodents away by making use of the sensory mechanisms.
Rodents are restricted from biting the applications treated with our products due to advanced mechanisms like dermal irritation, extremely bitter taste, sensory stimuli modification etc.
Further, they acquire a fear towards the RodrepelTM containing cables which make them stay away from them. Thus, RodrepelTM actually helps in modifying rodent behavior. Hence the spread of diseases caused by rodents can be eliminated.