Mice are not known to be the cleanest animals in the world, but do they carry diseases? Do mice carry hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)? Do mice carry leptospirosis or plague? Do mice carry salmonellosis?
We will discuss 6 diseases that rodents can transmit. This information should help you decide if you should worry about these illnesses and what precautions to take if you live with a mouse infestation.
Just because you have not personally seen or interacted with mice, rats, or other rodents in your home doesn’t mean they aren’t negatively impacting your life.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), rodents are responsible for spreading diseases to humans through direct contact and indirect contact by transferring the pathogens to insects or arachnids. Direct contact includes bites and contact with feces, urine, and airborne particles contaminated by rodents.
Do Mice Carry Diseases? Here Are Specific Diseases Transmitted by Rodents
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can be carried by rodents and is commonly spread through deer mouse droppings, urine, and saliva. HPS causes severe respiratory distress and can be fatal.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, also called HPS, affects the lungs, heart, and kidneys. Symptoms are similar to those of the flu, but they quickly grow worse if not treated. HPS is one of the most serious illnesses that can be carried by rodents.
Treatment of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome requires intensive-care hospitalization with supplemental oxygen. Serious infections are fatal about 40 percent of the time; the best prevention is to avoid all contact with rodents carrying HPS-causing virus symptoms.
There are mice that carry bacteria. These types of mice are found in North and South America. They live in homes and outbuildings.
Leptospirosis can be transmitted by consuming food or beverages contaminated with rodent urine or by coming into contact with contaminated water or soil. This disease can cause potentially fatal kidney damage and liver failure.
Symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Serious cases include liver and kidney failure, and meningitis. Untreated victims usually recover, although it can take months. People can be infected by: rodents, farm animals, and the bacteria itself.
Symptoms of Leptospirosis include fever, fever and vomiting, diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms resemble a case of the flu, but symptoms are milder. Treatment with antibiotics can help when the disease is diagnosed early and it’s treated with time.
A person with this disease is infected by consuming food and drinks while he or she has the disease. Milder symptoms are similar to those of the flu.
Plague is spread by coming into direct contact with rodents or being bitten by fleas infected by a rodent. Without treatment, the plague may lead to serious illness and death.
Disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It affects only about 1,000 to 2,000 people annually. The bacteria is carried out by fleas found in many wild rodents. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, chills, abdominal pain, nausea, and chills.
The most common early symptoms of plague are diarrhea and fever. Treatment of plague involves the use of powerful antibiotics and care to alleviate symptoms.
There are vaccinations available for those at risk of contracting the plague in order to avoid the disease. The disease is contracted through fleas from wild rodents, including fox squirrels, chipmunks, and rock squirrels in the U.S.
Salmonellosis can occur after consuming food or water contaminated with rodent feces. Salmonella is an infection in the intestines that can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain.
Salmonella is a common illness caused by contact with rat and mouse feces. Symptoms of salmonellosis include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and blood in the stool.
Repeated exposure or a heavy dose can lead to more severe illnesses such as meningitis.
Rat-Bite Fever (RBF)
Strain is Streptobacillus moniliformis, which is found in North America and Europe. Symptoms of rat-bite fever include fever, vomiting, headache, and muscle pain. Untreated RBF can progress into lung, liver, kidney infection; brain and heart infections may also occur.
Treating RBF consists of heavy antibiotics, but it can sometimes be fatal. An Asian form of the disease is caused by Spirillum minus or a form that carries the bacteria that can also spread the disease.
The illness can be traced back to insects and rodents. These small animals can carry the illness. If a rat or mouse has it, then they can make other animals sick that they come in contact with.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
The lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus is carried by a common house mouse. It is not normally carried by a rodent, such as hamsters or guinea pigs. Symptoms include fever, lack of appetite, aches, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Treatment involves hospitalization and treatment with heavy doses of anti-inflammatory drugs. In order to reduce the risk of diseases that can be obtained from wild mice, people should eliminate any chance for contact with a rodent through regulations in their homes and outdoors near housing.
The virus causes meningitis and encephalitis, causing confusion and other symptoms.
Birds, deer flies, or ticks can carry bacteria that could lead to Lyme disease symptoms. Tularemia is a life-threatening disease that most people can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of the illness include high fever, lethargy, and weakness.
Humans can become infected by coming in contact with rodents, through the bite of an infected animal. Mice and rats are common pests, but rabbits, hares, and other rodents can be even more so in times of outbreaks.
The most common way people contract tularemia is by handling an infected animal, such as a mouse or rat. All forms of the condition are accompanied by fever, which is consistently high.
What should I do if I have mice and rats in my home or property?
If you find that your property has house mice and rats on it, there are a few things that you should do. First of all, you should also call a mouse exterminator to come and assess the property for any trouble spots that may need extra attention. The pest control exterminator can also give you tips on how to prevent a rodent from coming back.
Treatments such as baits or traps can then be started. Depending on the severity, a combination of the two may be needed. Traps are a good option for mice, while baiting is more effective in treating rats.
If there is any food that has been left out or any pet droppings, it’s important to clean these up as soon as possible.
If you have a rodent problem, it is really important to take care of the mice right away because they are very resilient creatures who can bounce back quickly if left alone for too long. They reproduce very quickly, which means that mice infestations can come back very fast.
Preventing diseases spread by rodent droppings and urine in your home.
Preventing health risks caused by rodents can be a dangerous undertaking. In most cases, this endeavor requires you to handle and apply pesticides into the nooks and crannies of your home. In addition, you may need to use power tools to create access points through floors, ceilings, and walls.
Mice and rat problems can be prevented by inspecting your property regularly to look for potential entry points that a rodent may use as well as sealing cracks or holes that provide access into the home. It’s also important to take care when handling food.
Rodents can be a big problem for any property owner because they create health risks and make it very difficult to live in the home. However, there are ways you can prevent these problems from happening by inspecting your property regularly and sealing cracks or holes that provide access to the home. If rodents have already gotten into your house, perform treatments such as baits or traps depending on the severity of infestation. Again, it is vital to take care when handling food so that mice don’t get anything they shouldn’t — this includes not leaving out any pet food.