Janaury 14, 2016 - Rats can absorb disease agents from their local environment and spread them, according to a new UBC study. The results also indicate that the threat rats pose to the health of poultry and humans has been underestimated.
Researchers studied the feces of rats caught at an Abbotsford, B.C. poultry farm, and discovered they all carried avian pathogenic E. coli, a bacteria with the ability to cause disease in chickens and potentially humans. More than one quarter of the rats were carrying multidrug resistant strains of the bacteria. The findings support lead author Chelsea Himsworth’s theory that rats act as a “pathogen sponge,” soaking up bacteria from their environment. READ MORE