The Three Great Pandemics — Caused by Pests?

Did you know that the species of pests living right beside us have historically caused massive deaths and suffering by spreading plague? Way before your Las Vegas pest control team began their efforts to control the pest population, rats and the parasitic lowly flea rose up to infect humans with the three great plagues of history.

The Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health has a fascinating article on the link between the vermin that show up occasionally in our homes and businesses, and some of the most devastating human illnesses in history.

What is Plague and How Does it Spread?

Healthline defines plague as a serious bacterial infection that can cause death in humans. Because the plague affects the lymph nodes, causing swelling and abscesses called buboes, these plagues are termed “bubonic.” Before antibiotics, the bubonic plague devastated populations across Europe.

According to the Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health, the plague is still carried by rat populations in South and North America. Humans are infected when bitten by fleas that ingested the blood of infected rats. The fleas pass on the Yersinia Pestis, a bacteria that has caused some of the most devastating epidemics in the history of the world:

  • The Justinian Plague of 541 began in Africa and traveled to Europe and the Mediterranean. It was recorded to last three years, killing nearly 100 million people.
  • In the 14th Century, Yersinia Pestis caused the Black Death, which decimated fully one-third of Europe. 25 million people died all from the bite of the tiny flea.
  • The third pandemic began in China in 1894 and spread all over the world. It remained in overcrowded places where unsanitary conditions prevailed until 1959, causing an estimated 15 million deaths.
  •     The infected fleas that caused these pandemics traveled on brown rats, people, and even in rice and grain, spreading the disease around the planet. Today, there are still around 2,000 cases that occur around the globe, typically in third-world countries.

 Las Vegas Pest Control – Eradicating Rats and Pests

It is astonishing to consider that incidents of plague still exist. But the disease is still so virulent that the Center for Disease Control lists it as a potential bioterrorism threat. Fortunately, antibiotics can treat bubonic plague.

While the Norway rat, which is so prevalent in Las Vegas, could potentially carry an infected flea, the chances are not high that they will cause another plague anytime soon. However, it’s important for homes and businesses in Las Vegas to conduct period inspections to be sure there isn’t an infestation of mice or rats.

Rodents need food, water, and shelter. All they need is an opening the size of a dime for a mouse and the size of a quarter for a rat. Gaps under doors, holes between cement blocks, or gaps around the utility lines coming into your home are like a written invitation for a rodent.

Rodent inspections would include a methodical, organized search for chew marks, openings to the outside, or other signs of a mouse. Contact your Las Vegas pest control experts, R and C Pest Control, to keep your family safe.