HPS is a severe respiratory illness transmitted exclusively by rodents, primarily deer mice, which are the most abundant mammal in North America. Symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, progressing to coughing and shortness of breath. Roughly 50 percent of HPS patients also suffer abdominal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through rodent urine, either directly or through food and water contamination. Some patients have no symptoms at all, while others may experience symptoms such as fever, chills and vomiting that can be mistaken for other diseases.
Rat-Bite Fever (RBF)
As the name implies, fever is one of the predominant symptoms of RBF. Approximately half of patients also experience joint pain and rashes. RBF is usually transmitted through bites or scratches from infected rodents, but it can also spread through direct contact with urine and droppings or with contaminated surfaces.
Stern Environmental Group: Your Top Choice for NJ Pest Control
Recently it was discovered by researchers at the University of Hong Kong that hepatitis E, normally found in rats, was transmitted to a human. The 56-year-old Hong Kong resident is the first known person to become infected.
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E
In the past, it was noted that the “E” strain could not be transmitted to monkeys. Since monkeys are similar to humans in regard to susceptibility to diseases and the “E” strain could not be transmitted to the species, it was assumed humans were also not at risk.
On the reverse side, rats cannot be infected with the human hepatitis A virus. The fact the hepatitis E virus has crossed the line to humans shows the risk of this occurring has been underestimated, according to Dr. Siddharth Sridhar.
The infected man had undergone a liver transplant after being ill with a bout of hepatitis B. What researchers wanted to know was how the patient had contracted the hepatitis E virus. After investigating, it was determined a rubbish/garbage area that was used near his home was most likely where infected rats had visited to feed and the pathogen made its way into the man’s system.
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