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Results and Resources

Want to know what we have found out so far? Click on each title to see a summary of study results, or follow the article link to get connected to the published paper. For researchers interested in using unpublished tools that we developed for the VRP, please see 'Research Tools' at the bottom of the page.

 Project Summary:

Click here to watch a summary of what we have learned so far. Or read Rats and the City: Vancouver Rats Carry Pathogens Transmissible to People to find out about the major findings from Phase I of the Vancouver Rat Project (up to December 2014), and future directions for Phase II of the project.


For more information check out The Year of the Rat: Themes and Lessons from the Vancouver Rat Project. Follow the presentation while listening to the audio file. (Presented at the Animal Determinants of Emerging Disease Research Unit's Zoonosis Rounds, November 19, 2013)

 Research Summaries (by topic):
  Rat-Associated Zoonoses

Beyond Disease: How rat infestation can impact the mental health of inner-city residents A summary of: Lam R, Byers K, Himsworth CG. Beyond Zoonosis: The mental health impacts of rat exposure on inner-city residents.

The Dangers of Rat Poop? Wild Rats Can Carry Antibiotic Resistant and Virulent E. coli and Salmonella WATCH THE VIDEO! Do you want to find out what we have learned so far? Then check out The Year of the Rat: Themes and Lessons from the Vancouver Rat Project. Follow the presentation while listening to the audio file. (Presented at the Animal Determinants of Emerging Disease Research Unit's Zoonosis Rounds, November 19, 2013)

Wild Rats Can Carry "Superbug" Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) A summary of: Himsworth CG, Miller RR, Montoya V, Hoang L, Romney MG, Al-Rawahi GN, Kerr T, Jardine CM, Patrick DM, Tang P, Weese JS. Carriage of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus by Wild Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus). PLOS ONE 9(2): e87983. (article link)

Rat Bites: What are the Potential Consequences and What Can be Done to Mitigate the Damage? A summary of: Himsworth CG, Zabek E, Tang P, Parsons KL, Koehn M, Jardine CM, Patrick DM. Bacteria isolated from conspecific bite wounds in Norway and black rats: Implications for bite-associated infections in people. 2014. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 14(2): 94-100. (article link)

The Dangers of Rat Poop? Wild Rats Can Carry Clostridium difficile. A summary of: Himsworth CG, Patrick DM, Mak S, Jardine CM, Tang P, Weese JS. 2013. Carriage of Clostridium difficile by wild urban Norway and black rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus). Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 10.1128/AEM.03609-13. (article link)

Leptospira interrogans in urban rats: Implications for public health and rat control WATCH THE VIDEO! A summary of: Himsworth CG, Bidulka J, Parsons KL, Feng AYT, Tang P, et al. (2013) Ecology of Leptospira interrogans in Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) in an Inner-City Neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(6): e2270. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002270. (article link)

A Review of the Literature Regarding Rat-Associated Diseases in Urban Centres A summary of: Himsworth CG, Parsons KL, Jardine C, Patrick DM. 2013. Rats, Cities, People, and Pathogens: A systematic review and narrative synthesis of literature regarding the epidemiology of rat-associated zoonoses in urban centers. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 13(6): 349-359. (article link)

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) in Urban Rats A summary of: Himsworth CG, Patrick DM, Parsons, KL, Feng A, Weese JS. 2012. Carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius by wild Norway Rats. Emerging Infectious Diseases 19(1): 169-170. (article link)


  Urban Rat Ecology

Features of the Urban Environment that Influence Rat Abundance A summary of: Himsworth CG, Parsons KL, Feng AYT, Kerr T, Jardine CM, Patrick DM. 2014. A Mixed Methods Approach to Exploring the Relationship Between Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) Abundance and Features of the Urban Environment in an Inner-City Neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada. PLoS One 9(5): e97776. (article link)

The Characteristics of Urban Rat Populations and What They Can Tell Us About Rat-Associated Diseases A summary of: Himsworth CG, Jardine CM, Parsons KL, Feng AYT, Patrick DM. 2014. The characteristics of wild rat (Rattus spp.) populations with a focus on factors critical to the understanding of rat-associated zoonoses. PLoS One 9(3): e91654. (article link)

A Review of the Literature Regarding the Ecology of Rats in Urban Centres A summary of: Feng AYT, Himsworth CGH. The secret life of the city rat: A review of the ecology of urban Norway and black rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus). Urban Ecosystems DOI 10.1007/s11252-013-0305-4 (article link)

Opinions on Urban Rat Populations from Canadian Pest Control Professionals A summary of: Himsworth CG, Feng AYT, Parsons KL, Kerr T, Patrick DM. 2012. Using experiential knowledge to understand urban rat ecology: a survey of Canadian pest control professionals. Urban Ecosystems 16(2): 341-350. (article link)


  Health and Disease in Rats

Sniffles and Wheezes: A survey of respiratory pathology in wild urban rats A summary of: Rothenburger JL, Himsworth CG, Clifford CB, Ellis J, Treuting PM, Leighton FA. 2015. Respiratory pathology and pathogens in wild urban rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus). Veterinary Pathology. Published online July 13, 2015; doi:10.1177/0300985815593123 (article link)

Wild Rats Have Heart Disease! A Survey of Cardiovascular Pathology in Wild Urban Rats A summary of: Rothenburger JL, Himsworth CG, Treuting PM, Leighton FA. 2015. Survey of cardiovascular pathology in wild urban Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus. Veterinary Pathology. 52(1): 201-208. (article link)

3 out of 4 Rats in Vancouver Have Secretive Stomach Worms A summary of: Rothenburger JL, Himsworth CG, Lejeune M, Treuting PM, Leighton FA. 2014. Lesions associated with Eucoleus sp. in the non-glandular stomach of wild urban rats (Rattus norvegicus). International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites & Wildlife 3(2): 95-101. (article link)

Liver Worms in Rats: It's a rat eats rat world! A summary of: Rothenburger JL, Himsworth CG, Chang V, Lejeune M, Leighton FA. 2014. Capillaria hepatica in wild Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Vancouver, Canada. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 50(3): 628-633. (article link)

Ear Mange in Rats: The Potential for Importing Foreign Rats and Their Diseases Through International Shipping A summary of: Anholt H, Himsworth CG, Rothenburger J, Proctor H, Patrick DM. 2014. Notoedres muris in black and Norway rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus) from inner-city Vancouver, Canada. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 50(1): 104-1-8. (article link)


 Research Tools:

Vancouver Rat Project Necropsy Protocol - This document outlines the standardized rat necropsy and tissue collection protocol that we developed for the Vancouver Rat Project.

Vancouver Rat Project Necropsy Form - This is the form that we used to document necropsy findings for each rat included in the study.