There is an ongoing outbreak of a strain of Hantavirus in the rat community. It is the Seoul Virus that is carried by the Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) and Black Rat (Rattus rattus). Rats are only carriers of the disease and don’t show any symptoms, but they can pass it to humans who can get sick, especially those with already weakened immune systems, small children, and the elderly. It is generally passed through contact with rat saliva (bites), urine (soiled bedding) and feces, so good hygiene practices are ALWAYS encouraged to lessen your chances of getting sick. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/small-mammals/petrodents.html
Here are the current numbers associated with this outbreak (as of 3/14/2017):
As you may have noticed things have been pretty quiet here at RROW. As a precaution, I decided to shut my doors, place my rats under quarantine, and not place any rats for adoption until I was able to get my rats tested. I value my adopters, and your safety is of the utmost importance.
The Centers for Disease Control who is investigating the outbreak and working to locate affected ratteries, is contacting any Breeders who may have received rats from a confirmed infected rattery, or sold rats to a confirmed infected rattery. They investigated a rattery in Utah in late February where the Breeder herself tested positive. Rainbow Row Rattery received rats from this rattery in August of 2016. The CDC came and tested my rats on Wednesday, March 15th. I received my results today (March 23, 2017) and ALL WERE NEGATIVE, including the rats from Utah. As soon as I have the hard copy of my results I will be posting them.
Representatives from The CDC, PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) , IDEXX, and The Rat Guide, other well respected members of the Rat Fancy Community, Breeders, and Pet Owners have been communicating via conference calls to ensure accurate dissemination of information, and to answer questions. Here is a link to the CDC’s FAQ page, and a link to the Rat Guide’s own information pdf.
These are the BEST sources for ACCURATE and up to date information on the outbreak. I encourage you to go and read the information and ask questions.
If you have question, CDC-INFO (1-800-CDC-INFO) provides information about Hantaviruses to callers in the United States. You may also call CDC’s Hantavirus Hotline at 877-232-3322 and 404-639-1510.
Wherever you adopt your rats from, I encourage you to ASK TO SEE NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS. These should include individual rat’s results and complete summary of ALL rats tested.