a. Plague. Plague ranks first in importance among rodent-borne diseases. It is
found worldwide. Primarily a disease of rats and of other wild rodents, plague may be
transmitted to man by the bite or the feces of a flea that has previously fed on an
b. Endemic Typhus. Endemic or murine typhus is transmitted to man by the
feces of rat fleas. This disease is usually milder than the epidemic typhus transmitted
from man-to-man by the body louse.
c. Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is caused by contact with the urine or feces of
an infected rat or other animal.
d. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Rodents are reservoirs of this disease.
The disease is transmitted to man by infected ticks.
e. Scrub Typhus. Scrub typhus, also called tsutsugamushi fever or Japanese
river fever, is transmitted by a larval mite that is normally parasitic on rodents.
f. Tularemia. Tularemia is a serious disease that is widely distributed
throughout the United States. It may be contracted from the handling of infected rabbits
or other rodents or from the bite of ticks or deer flies.
g. Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is one form of food poisoning. Although the
major sources of such poisoning are food handlers and poultry products, the disease
organisms may come from the feces and urine of infected rats and mice.
5-23. ENVIRONMENTAL RODENT CONTROL
The most effective rodent control is environmental control. This may be thought
of as a preventive maintenance program. The basic principle in environmental control is
to make the environment unfavorable to the rodent by denying it basic biological needs
such as food, water, and shelter.
a. Food. Rats obtain food from pet dishes, improperly closed food containers,
unprotected food in storage, improperly closed garbage cans, and many other sources.
It is in this area that the most rewarding steps in rodent control may be taken. Food
service personnel should properly store all food items. Open packages should be
placed in tightly covered metal containers. Soldiers should be required to store all
personal food in tightly covered containers such as cake tins. Garbage and rubbish
should be disposed of frequently and properly. Good sanitation is probably the most
important aspect of an environmental control program.
b. Water. Rats obtain water from many sources such as pet dishes, leaky
faucets, stoppered sinks, open rain barrels, and ditches. All of these sources should be
eliminated. Outdoor containers that must remain open should be covered with screens
to deny access to rats.