How You Can Contract Diseases From Household Pests

Updated on October 5, 2021

If household pests have made their way into your home, you are likely concerned for a variety of reasons. One of the most disconcerting facts about household pests is the variety of ways in which they can spread diseases to you and your family. Since every pest spreads different diseases, it can be important to know which pests spread which diseases, and also how they do it. It is also important to hire a professional for help removing these nuisance pests to minimize health hazards. Continue reading to find out how you can contract diseases from household pests.

Rats and Mice

Clearly the forerunner of all household pests, and the subject of many a call to pest control companies, rats and mice commonly find their way into even the most sealed-up and weatherproof homes. These rodents are known for spreading all kinds of diseases to humans and other animals. One of the worst diseases they spread is the hantavirus. This virus kills roughly 40% of the people infected with it and there is no cure for it. They also spread rat-bite fever, which is a very serious illness that can cause potentially fatal complications in some humans. In addition to these diseases, they spread many other less common bacterium and viruses that can contaminate food and cause serious health issues. Rats and mice spread these diseases through bites and scratches. They can also leave their feces and urine everywhere, contaminating surfaces. Finally, they often get into food in homes, creating contaminated food situations. 


An often forgotten household pest is the bird. Birds generally prefer to stay in the attic of homes that they invade, as it keeps them sheltered but also keeps them away from humans. With that being said, they leave their droppings everywhere inside of attics, in walls, down chimneys, and all around your home’s exterior and yard. Their feces are full of many different nasty viruses and diseases. In addition, birds also carry diseases on their bodies. Oftentimes, there are mites or small organisms that stay on their bodies and are deposited wherever they land. Bird diseases are spread through direct contact with feces and urine, feathers, and any spots where they have been roosting.


One of the worst household pests is the bat. Bats are known as rats with wings for good reason, as they carry just as many diseases, if not more than rodents do. Bats are known to carry coronaviruses (not necessarily COVID-19), rabies, Ebola, and many other serious diseases. Most bat diseases are transmitted to humans through direct bites or scratches. It is also possible for humans to contract these diseases by coming into contact with bat feces or droppings, as these are breeding grounds for nasty diseases. In addition, bats can contaminate food and any food preparation areas, simply by flying around and depositing feces in various places.

Dead Animals

An often forgotten fact is that dead animals can cause health problems. When an animal dies because of an illness, it certainly will be able to transmit that illness if any animal or human comes into contact with them. Rabies, tularemia, plague, leptospirosis, and many other diseases can be spread by dead animals, even while the carrier’s body is no longer alive. It is even easier to contract random other bacteria and viruses through dead animals, as these are very common with decaying organisms.


The squirrel is one of the household pests that generally like to live in a home’s attic if possible. Sometimes they will make their way down into a wall, and even bore through it with their teeth to get to the living area and some food. Squirrels spread all kinds of nasty diseases, such as tularemia, which is a nasty infection that causes ulcers, fevers, and headaches. They also spread leptospirosis, which is the nasty bacterial infection that causes rashes, vomiting, and headaches, in addition to potentially high fevers. The squirrel spreads its diseases to humans much as rodents do. If a squirrel scratches or bites someone or humans come into contact with the squirrel’s feces or urine, it can easily spread a variety of diseases.


When raccoons make their way into people’s homes, they generally remain in the attic. While up there, they leave their feces, saliva, and urine everywhere, creating a breeding ground for nasty diseases. One of the most dangerous to humans is raccoon roundworm, which is often located in raccoon feces. In addition to this, rabies and salmonellosis can also be spread through direct contact, saliva, and feces contact, making raccoons a serious health hazard to have around the home.

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