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Leptospirosis – What You Need to Know About This Rat Urine Transmitted Disease

Leptospirosis – What You Need to Know About This Rat Urine Transmitted Disease

Several recent articles have raised alarms about a rise in human and dog infection by leptospirosis, a disease transmitted by rat urine. While most of the cases have been in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, residents may have concerns about the disease and what it means for them and their communities. Viking Pest would like to help separate the truth from the myths so you can be better informed about the disease and its risks.



The bacteria responsible for causing Leptospirosis spreads through the urine, and other bodily fluids other than saliva, of infected animals. Infected urine can seep into water and soil and survive there for weeks or even months. Once there it can infect other animals in the area. Many varieties of animals can carry the bacteria, but the ones most residents need to be concerned with are rodents and dogs.

Afflicted animals can show no signs of infection, so if your dog were infected by contact with rat or mouse urine and seems completely fine, it might still be able to infect you through its bodily fluids. Humans are most infected either by direct contact with urine or other bodily fluids other than saliva, or through contact with the bacteria through contaminated food or water. Mass infections can occur in instances of flooding.



People who are infected may experience a wide array of symptoms. Among the most common:

  • Severe Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle Ache
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Jaundice (yellowed eyes and skin)
  • Red eyes

Dogs and other animals that can become infected will experience similar symptoms. As with other diseases, it is wise to see a medical professional and get a diagnosis as Leptospirosis can easily be mistaken for other ailments. Because the disease is infectious and carriers can be asymptomatic, knowing that you have the disease can help you warn others of possible infection. If left untreated, the disease can enter a second phase with even more severe symptoms, including liver or kidney failure and meningitis. The illness can last from several days to three weeks or longer. If untreated, recovery can take months.


While the risk of Leptospirosis is generally low, it’s worth taking protective measures against rats to ensure that they don’t infect any family members, two-legged or four-legged. Fields where leptospirosis risk is greatest include farming, veterinary medicine, and waste management. It’s important to us protective gear like gloves and boots to prevent contact with contaminated areas. You should also wash your hands after coming into contact with potentially contacted surfaces or animals. You should use a strong anti-bacterial treatment to clean exposed surfaces.

Of course, the best way to prevent leptospirosis is to keep rats off the premises is with an effective rodent control solution. Viking Pest Control offers SMART Rodent Control, which can serve as an early alert system to let you know about possible rodent infestations through camera-free temperature and motion-detecting technology. Eco-friendly SMART pest control solutions can be applied at residential, commercial, and municipal levels.

To schedule a free SMART quote call Viking Pest today at (800)618-2847 or fill out the form on this blog post.

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