Since March 2020 started, we have received increasing enquiries asking questions relating to links between rat infestations and Covid 19
We are now mid March 2020 at the time of writing this blog and these enquiries are now at ‘unprecedented’ levels (if we are to steal the newspapers favourite Corona-catchphrase)
Two big questions are:
(1) Do rats spread Coronavirus? Am I at risk of catching CV19 from rats? Etc.
(2) Will rat infestations weaken my immunity and make me more susceptible to CV19?
One of these questions is laughable and testament to current levels of fear and hysteria but the other has some tangible relevance so I’ll deal with each question in turn:
(1) Do rats spread CV19 or am I at risk of catching CV19 from rats?
Absolutely not – you can only catch CV19 from other humans so don’t lose sleep over that one.
Although Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals, CV19 is a strain that has successfully ‘jumped’ to use humans as the host (i.e. it is a ‘zoonotic’ virus) so human to human interaction is how it spreads.
Interestingly though these viruses originate in birds and mammals – zoonotic opportunities arise whenever human interaction with them is close.
CV19 is thought to have originated from the ‘wet market’ at Wuhan where bats, rats and other such mammals are sold live to customers or butchered live on sale and therefore there is close human contact with these potential carriers.
There is actually an International network of ‘virus hunters’ who are hugely funded to trap bats, rats, birds and other such known virus-carrying mammals out in areas such as the jungles of Sierra Leone so that yet unknown lethal strains can be identified before they ‘jump’ and start a pandemic.
Bats in particular seem to be the most significant carriers of the Coronaviruses so it would be prudent to exclude those from your diet for the foreseeable!
(2) Will rat infestations weaken my immunity and make me more susceptible to dying?
Initially we dismissed this one too but actually there could be some relevance.
Essentially our bodies response to CV19 is determined by its immune function (or immune system).
Immune function between individuals is difficult to measure and comprises a network of cells, organs and tissues that work in tandem to protect the body from infection.
In short terms, your immune function is your level of defence against disease and there is a good decreasing correlation with age which is why mortality rates with CV19 rocket for the over 70’s.
Rat infestations are targeted by Environmental Health bodies worldwide because of the well established associations with diseases spread by both bacteria & viruses.
These creatures inhabit unsanitary areas and are frequently urinate and defecate meaning the spread of bacterial diseases such as Salmonella & E Coli easily occur with humans occupying the same areas.
These diseases infect the intestinal tract of humans and can kill in extreme cases so are not to be taken lightly.
Likewise the virus Weils Disease is found in rat urine and kills humans every year where they have inadvertently come into contact with rat urine.
If your body is already tackling any one of these diseases then its immune function will be compromised meaning that if CV19 is added to the list, it is far less likely to be able to cope.
As ever, the most vulnerable will be the older generation as their already diminished immune function makes them more susceptible to the run-of-the-mill stuff like Salmonella & E Coli which then in turn reduces immunity function further leaving no reserves to be able to put up a fight with CV19 should that rear its head!
Worth a thought if you have an elderly relative where there is the risk of coming into contact with rat urine and faeces.
Multivitamins will only help so much!