It’s not exactly easy to keep from getting sick during the winter months. There are so many different strands of flu and colds that go around that most of us are bound to get sick at one point or another. However, most people don’t even consider the threat posed by rodents infesting their home during the colder months. Did you know that rodents infest 21 million homes in the United States every winter? These invaders can lead to much more than a simple stress related headache.

Winter drives rats into your home in a desperate attempt to stay warm. They are then going to search around for food, which means that your kitchen could have bacteria being spread. This can pose a significant health risk to you and your family.

One of the major problems is that rats spread feces everywhere, spreading this dangerous bacteria. It can then dry and become airborne. It’s gross and potentially dangerous. Here are some of the diseases that can be spread.


This disease can be life-threatening and is transmitted to humans by rodents. The white-footed deer mouse is the number one rodent carrier of this disease. People can become infested with this disease through exposure and inhalation of rodent droppings. Chances of catching Hantavirus increases if you are in smaller enclosed spaces where rats have infested. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Abdominal problems

Bubonic Plague

This is the disease that killed millions of people during the middle ages. It’s also referred to as “Black Death.” This is a highly contagious disease and while it doesn’t pose the same level of risk as it did during the Middle Ages, it’s still possible to be spread. Rats themselves do not directly spread it. It’s spread by fleas that bite the rat and then bite a human. Symptoms include headache, swollen lymph nodes, and fiver. Again, this is rare now but people are diagnosed with this disease every once in a while.


This is a type of food poisoning that is spread through the feces of rodents when we eat food that is contaminated by them. The problem is that it’s sometimes impossible to detect rat feces so we might be unknowingly consuming it. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. In fact, there are 40,000 cases of Salmonella reported every year.

Rat-Bite Fever

Contrary to the name, you do not actually catch this disease by being bitten, but by consuming food that is contaminated by rats. This disease will lay dormant inside of you for up to 3 days before you experience any symptoms and it can lead to death if it goes untreated. Symptoms include headache, vomiting, fever, and even a rash!

The Bottom Line

Health risks are not the only problems that rodent infestations bring. They can also damage your property and chew through electrical wires, putting your home at risk of fires.

At the first sign of a rodent in your home, you need to start addressing the problem before it gets out of hand. One rat is each enough to get rid of but that one rat can quickly attract a mate and then multiply!