3 Common Diseases That Wildlife Pests Can Spread to People

Updated on May 7, 2021

While no one wants to live with a nuisance wildlife pest, there are many serious reasons that these animals need to be removed as soon as possible. The most important and potentially deadly reason is that there are many different types of fatal illnesses that wildlife pests can spread to people. While there are many different bacteria and viruses, this article will focus on three common diseases that can be spread to humans.


Rat-Bite Fever

One of the most serious and infectious diseases that can be spread to people by nuisance wildlife pests is rat-bite fever. While the name is somewhat self-explanatory, this disease is spread by bacteria that is commonly found in rodents. Rats and mice contract this disease fairly commonly, meaning that many people can be exposed to it, particularly if the rodents in their area are carrying this bacteria. Rats and mice generally spread this disease to humans in one of the following ways. The most serious, direct method of transmission is through bites or scratches. Infecting certain areas with urine, feces, or saliva can also spread this disease. Finally, any food or drinks can be contaminated by a rodent coming into contact with it. 

While this disease may start out with the common symptoms of many different viruses or common colds, it can quickly progress. Some common first symptoms are fever, headache, a rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pains. If the disease progresses, some common signs are infections of the heart, infections of the lungs, infections of the nervous system or brain, abscesses inside the body, and infections of the liver and kidneys. This is a very serious illness that statistically kills about one in ten of all who get the disease from rodents. 

If you have recently come into contact with a rat or a mouse, have been bitten by one, or suspect you may have a rodent infestation, be sure to inform your doctor. Quick treatment is a must for many of the diseases that rodents commonly spread to humans. Rat-bite fever is generally treated with antibiotics to great effect, which means that seeing a healthcare professional as soon as possible is vital to your health. If you suspect you have an infestation, make sure to remove the rodents as soon as possible. You can visit pestcontrolrat.com for tips on rat removal and control.


While this disease is also spread by rats and mice, hantavirus is a much more serious and deadly illness. Hantavirus is a family of viruses that rats and mice can be found to be carrying in much of the world. This disease can be spread in a variety of ways, giving rodents multiple opportunities to infect humans. The most direct transmission method is through a bite or a scratch, which provides the most likely chance of contracting hantavirus. Drinking or eating any infected food or drink can spread the illness. And finally, simply coming into contact with any area where the rat or mouse has left their saliva, feces, or urine can spread it as well.

The hantavirus family that is found in the United States is called “Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome”. This particular strain of the hantavirus family causes serious respiratory problems in humans. Much like many diseases and health problems, the hantavirus symptoms emerge with vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, chills, headaches, and nausea. If conditions begin to worsen, the symptoms turn very serious. These complications include severe coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. In fact, roughly 40% of people who contract this illness die from the complications, making it absolutely vital that professional health care is sought after as soon as possible. 

If you have come into contact with rodents or live around them and begin experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible. While there are no treatments for hantavirus, simply being in the hospital already when the severe symptoms start can save your life.


Rabies is one of the most common nuisance wildlife pest diseases in the world, as it can be spread by many different animals. Some of the most common carriers are raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, and coyotes. Rabies is a very serious illness for humans, as it can eventually cause death. Rabies is most commonly spread through direct contact with infected saliva from an animal. This most commonly can occur when a nuisance animal bites a human. If an infected animal leaves its saliva on any food, drinks, or other surfaces, humans can also contract it from those places.

Rabies has many symptoms that feel similar to other illnesses, however, most humans know if they have contracted rabies since it is most commonly caused through direct bites. Some early symptoms are muscle pain, headache, fever, and vomiting. As rabies progresses, it can lead to excess saliva production, paralysis, irritability, delirium, hallucinations, and general confusion. Eventually, left untreated, rabies leads to a coma, followed by death. Rabies is deadly almost always if left untreated, so it is very important to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible and contact a professional wildlife control company like A&D Construction Plus to remove any animals from your property that may be a carrier of the rabies virus. 

If you have been bitten or have come into direct contact with the saliva of a nuisance animal, it is vital to go see a doctor. Once you have visited your healthcare provider, they will determine whether or not you should receive a rabies vaccine. If deemed necessary, your rabies vaccines will take place over a two-week-long period of time. You will have five shots administered to your arm, and these are highly effective treatments that will get rid of rabies as soon as possible.


As can be seen, each of these three diseases commonly spread by wildlife pests is very serious, and sometimes even deadly. If you have ever come into direct contact with a pest, know you are living around them, or have been exposed to their urine or feces, go see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.