Why are Rodents Dangerous to Health and Home?
Mice and rats are more than just nuisances. They carry numerous diseases that can spread to humans through feces, urine, saliva, parasites, and bites. Mouse droppings contaminate food sources, trigger allergies, and transmit food-borne illnesses. Below is an overview of some of the most common diseases transmitted by rodents.
Table of Contents
- Why are Rodents Dangerous to Health and Home?
- What Diseases Do Mice Carry?
- Bubonic Plague
- Rate-Bite Fever
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
- Ways Mice Spread Disease in Your Home
- Milwaukee Rodent Control: Keep Mice and Rats Out
What Diseases Do Mice Carry?
Hantavirus is a potentially life-threatening disease transmitted to humans through exposure or inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. The deer mouse and white-footed mouse are the most common carriers of the virus in North America. Mouse nests also increase the risk of transmission. Common nesting sites may include barns, sheds, cabins, attics, and basements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early symptoms of Hantavirus include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. As the disease progresses, it can lead to severe lung and heart problems.
Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by consuming food or water contaminated by mouse droppings and urine. The common bacterial disease affects the stomach and intestines. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Salmonella infections are very common, affecting millions of people every year.
The Plague is infamous for killing one-third of the European population during the Middle Ages. According to the Mayo Clinic, plague occurs in fewer than 5,000 people a year worldwide. The plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, is usually spread by the bite of an infected rodent flea. Bubonic plague is the most common variety of the disease, causing swollen lymph nodes, fever, headaches, and muscle aches. Pet owners should regularly inspect pets for fleas and implement flea management to prevent flea infestations.
Rat-bite fever is a severe bacterial disease caused by a bite or scratch from an infected rodent or the consumption of food contaminated by rats. According to the CDC, symptoms usually occur 3-10 days after exposure and include fever, vomiting, headaches, muscle pain, and rashes.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmitted through mouse urine-tainted water. Common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, chills, and diarrhea. If left untreated, this disease may lead to kidney damage and liver failure.
Tularemia is a bacterial disease transmitted by rodents, rabbits, squirrels, and beavers. The disease is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick or deer fly, skin contact with infected animals, or drinking contaminated water. Tularemia can be life-threatening without treatment, according to the CDC. Skin ulcers are a common symptom of this disease. Other common symptoms include swollen lymph glands and inflammation.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is a rodent-borne viral infection transmitted to humans through the exposure of infected rodent droppings, urine, or saliva. The house mouse is the most common carrier of the virus in North America. According to the CDC, 5% of house mice throughout the United States carry LCMV and are able to transmit the virus. Transmission can occur through exposure to mouse droppings, urine, and saliva. Early symptoms of LCM include fever, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches. The CDC also states that women who become infected by LCM during pregnancy may pass the infection on to the fetus, resulting in birth defects and fetal death.
Ways Mice Spread Disease in Your Home
Fleas and ticks often hitchhike on mice. These parasites can transmit diseases like Lyme disease and Bubonic plague. If your property is located near a wooded area, you may be at an increased risk of contracting these diseases. Rodents, deer, and other wildlife commonly carry parasites. Homeowners should frequently inspect pets, firewood, and themselves before coming indoors. Lastly, rodents can spread bacterial diseases, such as rate-bite fever and Tularemia, through a direct bite.
Milwaukee Rodent Control: Keep Mice and Rats Out
Our pest management professionals conduct thorough home inspections and seal up access points with heavy-duty metal to prevent future rodent entry. Due to our cold Wisconsin winters, your house will shift and create new openings. Our technicians perform quarterly checks to re-inspect your home and refill bait stations to keep your home and family protected against mice and rats year-round.
Have mice or rats in your home? Give us a call today at (262) 242-4390 or send us a message.