Roof Rats: Pathogens and Parasites - For Pest Management Professionals and Environmental Health Professionals
The roof rat (Figures 1 & 4 Rattus rattus), also known as the black rat, ship rat, or house rat, is an Old World rodent species originating in southeast Asia. Although it is not native to North America, roof rats are established in most coastal and southern states in the continental United States (U.S.), Hawaii, and small populations exist in Alaska. Information covering the identification, ecology, and signs of roof rats are covered in a separate publication by the same authors as the publication titled "Roof Rats: Identification, Ecology, and Signs"
Roof rats pose a significant health and safety hazard as they are implicated in the transmission of a number of diseases to humans and domesticated animals. These diseases include leptospirosis, salmonellosis (food contamination), rat-bite fever, murine typhus, plague, toxoplasmosis, and trichinosis.