Recently rodents have become popular as household pets but all the people who do that should be careful of the fact that their loving gestures towards their little pet such as kissing and cuddling could become lethal since these organisms carry a high potential towards causing varied health hazards. Workers in the lab, employees at the pet shops and owners of the rats have contracted various types of diseases worldwide. The common health diseases caused by this little organism include leptospirosis, eosinophilic meningitis, rat bite fever, murine typhus, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium.
Among these, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chill, muscle aches, vomiting and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, liver failure, and respiratory distress and meningitis and in rare cases death can occur. Eosinophilic meningitis is caused due to rat lung worm called Angiostrongylus Cantonensis. It is an infection of the brain occurring in association with an increase in the number of eosinophils or white blood cells.
As the ownership of rodent increases, the lethal disease known as Rat-bite fever can become more prevalent. Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a systemic bacterial illness caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis that can be acquired through the bite or scratch of a rodent or the ingestion of food or water contaminated with rat feces and saliva. Murine typhus is also worldwide and is transmitted to humans by rat fleas and is caused by infection with R. typhi. Travelers who visit in rat-infested buildings and homes, especially in harbor or riverside environments, can be at risk for exposure to the agent of murine typhus. Flea-infested rats can be found throughout the year in humid tropical environments.
Although rare, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing Hantavirus infection. And lastly, as its name suggests, salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium is caused by S. Typhimurium but in humans it does not cause as severe disease as S. Typhi, and is not normally fatal. However, Salmonella infections can cause death if they are not treated with antibiotics.