The Potential Health Risks of Rats in Your Home

Rats in AtlantaThe thought of rodents scurrying around in the attic or rummaging through the food pantry causes most people to cringe. Unfortunately, Georgia has an abundance of these four-legged critters, both Norway rats and roof rats, and they like to set up house in places where food is readily available.

One of the tell-tale signs of rodent infestation are the smudge marks that result from oil and dirt rubbing off their fur along their travel routes. Or, at dusk, invading rats can be heard running around in the attic or through the home’s air ducts. If a rat problem is suspected, it’s time to contact an Atlanta expert in rat removal who can assess the situation, remove the rodents, and help secure the home against future infestations.

Rodents are responsible for more than 35 different diseases worldwide, spread through direct handling or through contact with the rat feces, urine, or saliva. We’ve listed the most common health risks associated with direct or indirect exposure to rodents in the U.S.


According to the Georgia Department of Health, Leptospirosis is under-diagnosed in the U.S., so there are probably more human cases than the low number reported in Georgia over the past decade. The disease is passed from infected rodents (or other infected wildlife, like raccoons) through the urine, but the bacteria can live for a long time in damp soil, fresh water, mud, and vegetation. Humans can be infected by coming into contact with the disease, but pets can also be infected through food or water bowls that have come into contact with an infected rat’s urine. Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics.


Rat eating cheese in AtlantaMany people are allergic to rat droppings, their dander, or their hair. Because rats shed about 500,000 body hairs and release around 25,000 rat droppings per year, those people who suffer with allergies could suffer adverse health effects if there is an infestation in the home.

Fleas, Lice, Ticks, and Mites

Rats can transport fleas, lice, ticks, and mites into the home. If a rat is infected and is bitten by one of these parasitic insects, that insect can in turn bite humans and infect them.

Food Contamination

Rats can contaminate food through their urine, feces, and hair. It’s estimated that each year, at least 20% of the world’s food supply is contaminated by rodents.

Fire Hazard

Rats like to chew on the electrical wiring and cable in homes due to the sodium content in the wires. The damaged wires can cause a major fire risk.

An experienced professional in rat removal can safely and humanely remove the rodents from your property, and secure your home from future invasions.

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