Do Rats Carry Rabies?
2018 Update to Pest Wildlife Management

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Rats And Rabies

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Rabies is a zoonotic viral disease that can be transmitted from animal to animal and from animal to human through the infected animal's saliva. Thus, humans can get infected by the virus if: They're bitten by a rabid animal. They have been scratched by claws coated with saliva from a rabid animal.

Rabies cannot be transmitted through urine or blood, or via petting a rabid animal. Once the virus gets into the human body, it attaches itself to nerve cells and slowly destroys the nervous system. If the situation isn't medically addressed, the rabies goes on to attack the brain, finally killing its victim.

While all animal bites are potentially dangerous and must be given prompt attention, individuals that get bitten by primary rabies-carrying animals must receive immediate medical attention. Even if the bite is small and doesn't look infected. This is due to the high risk associated with calling the illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), rats and other small rodents have not been proven to transmit the rabies virus to humans. Although there are rare cases of wild rats transmitting rabies outside of America, the primary carriers of rabies are raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, and coyotes. It is altogether rare for rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters and gerbils to be infected with rabies.

Rats are not considered to be a significant threat in the transmission of rabies. It is not necessary to get rabies shots after being bitten by a rat, although sufferers should seek medical attention to stall the transmission of other infections

The Dry Bite Theory: It's believed in some areas that rats have a dry bite. This suggests that even if a rat were to endure the rabid bite of a bigger creature and then bites a human, transmission of the rabies virus could be impossible since the rat has a dry bite.

It is thought that the forward position of rat teeth prevents the teeth from being wet with saliva. And since rabies is transmitted via saliva of infected animals, it means that an infected rat wouldn't still have the ability to transmit the disease with a bite.