Diseases directly transmitted by rodents

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Rodent(s) involved

Deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), Cotton rat (Sigmodon Hispidus), Rice rat (Oryzomys palustris), White-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)

Agent

Virus

Where the disease occurs

Throughout most of North and South America

How the disease spreads

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their uring and droppings
  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently

Additional Information

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome

Rodent(s) involved

Striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius), brown or Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), yellow-necked field mouse (Apodemus flavicollis)

Agent

Virus

Where the disease occurs

Primarily in eastern Asia, Russia, Korea, Scandinavia, western Europe, and the Balkans

How the disease spreads

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their uring and droppings
  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently
  • The disease may spread through direct contact from person to person, but it is extremely rare

Additional Information

Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome

Lassa Fever

Rodent(s) involved

Multi-mammate rat (Mastomys natalensisspecies complex)

Agent

Virus

Where the disease occurs

West Africa

How the disease spreads

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings
  • Eating food that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently
  • The disease may spread through direct contact from person to person

Additional Information

Lassa Fever

Leptospirosis

Rodent(s) involved

Rodents and other animals

Agent

Bacteria

Where the disease occurs

Worldwide

How the disease spreads

  • Eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine from infected animals
  • Contact through the skin or mucous membranes (such as inside the nose) with water or soil that is contaminated with the urine from infected animals

Additional Information

Leptospirosis

Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)

Rodent(s) involved

House mouse (Mus musculus)

Agent

Virus

Where the disease occurs

Worldwide

How the disease spreads

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings
  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently

Additional Information

Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis

Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever

Rodent(s) involved

Muskrats and possibly narrow-skulled voles

Agent

Virus

Where the disease occurs

Western Siberia

How the disease spreads

  • Direct contact with infected animal
  • Bite from an infected tick

Additional Information

Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever

Plague

Rodent(s) involved

Wild rodents, including rock squirrels, prarie dogs, wood rats, fox squirrels and other species of ground squirrels and chipmunks

Agent

Bacteria

Where the disease occurs

Western US, South America, Africa, Asia

How the disease spreads

  • Bite of an infected flea
  • Direct contact with infected animal

Additional Information

Plague

Rat-Bite Fever

Rodent(s) involved

Rats and possibly mice

Agent

Bacteria

Where the disease occurs

Worldwide; Streptobacillus moniliformis in North America and Europe; Spirillum minue in Asia and Africa

How the disease spreads

  • Bite or scratch wound from an infected rodent, or contact with a dead rodent
  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces.

Additional Information

Rat-Bite Fever

Salmonellosis

Rodent(s) involved

Rats and mice

Agent

Bacteria

Where the disease occurs

Worldwide

How the disease spreads

  • Eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by rat feces

Additional Information

Salmonellosis

South American Arenaviruses (Argentine hemorrhagic fever, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Sabiá-associated hemorrhagic fever, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever)

Rodent(s) involved

Cane rat (Zygodontomys brevicauda), drylands vesper mouse, (Calomys musculinus), large vesper mouse (Calomys callosus)

Agent

Virus

Where the disease occurs

South America: parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil

How the disease spreads

  • Breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings
  • Direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings
  • Bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently
  • The disease may rarely spread through direct contact from person to person

Additional Information

Arenaviruses

Tularemia

Rodent(s) involved

Wild rodents, including muskrats, ground squirrels and beavers

Agent

Bacteria

Where the disease occurs

Worldwide

How the disease spreads

  • Handling infected animal carcasses
  • Being bitten by an infected tick, deerfly or other insect
  • Eating or drinking contaminated food or water
  • Breathing in the bacteria, F. tularensis

Additional Information

Tularemia

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • cdcinfo@cdc.gov
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