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Danger Mouse: Health Risks Carried by Rodents  — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 20, 2010 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Danger Mouse: Health Risks Carried by Rodents


Rodents carry at least 25 diseases. If a rodent is living in your home, you and your family are at risk of contracting some of these diseases as well.

Health Risks

Disease is easily and quickly spread through the feces and urine of rodents. Some of the many diseases rodents carry include:

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
  • Rat Bite Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetellosis
  • Encephalomyocarditis
  • Pseudorabies
  • Salmonellosis
  • Swine dysentery
  • Swine erysipelas
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Trichinosis

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS): HPS was first singled out as a disease in 1993. Since then, there have been more than 500 HPS deaths reported. While a bite from a mouse can transmit the disease, direct contact isn't necessary for infection. Inhalation of the feces and urine or touching items contaminated by mice can also lead to infection and, possibly, death. Children are more susceptible to this disease than adults.

Rat Bite Fever: Rat bite fever manifests three days to three months following skin contact or a bite or scratch from either wild or pet rodents such as rats, mice, and gerbils or by ingesting contaminated food or drinks. Symptoms include chills, fever, vomiting, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Two to four days after onset, a rash appears on the hands and feet, and joints may become red, swollen. and painful. Without treatment, the patient may suffer long-term or even permanent damage.

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is carried by many animals, both tame and wild. When a person comes into contact with the bacteria, either through skin contact (broken skin) or the saliva of an infected animal, a variety of symptom can appear, including: jaundice, vomiting, muscle pain, chills, headache and fever, to diarrhea, rash and abdominal pair. However, sometimes no symptoms occur. If left untreated, liver failure, respiratory issues, kidney damage, meningitis, and rarely, death can occur.

Rodent Facts

  • In their search for food and water, rodents travel in and out of some of the dirtiest environments on the planet.
  • Rodents are very good at finding food, water, and shelter in your home. Due to their physical make-up, a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel and a rat can squeeze through a hole about the size of a quarter or half-dollar (or smaller).
  • In about a week, a pair of mice can consume one-fourth to one-half pound of food and leave behind more than 1,000 droppings.
  • The average adult female mouse can reproduce at a rate of about one litter of five or six baby mice called "pinkies" or "pups" every five or six weeks. Since offspring can begin reproducing at the age of six weeks, as long as food is available, a mouse population may grow to more than 100 within three months.
  • Mice and rats carry tapeworms, ringworms, mites, and fleas. Deer mice are also often infected with the deer tick, which causes Lyme disease.

How to Get Rid of Mice and Rats

Most of the time, a homeowner is aware of a mouse infestation due to droppings. But sometimes an infestation is not as readily noticeable, especially if the rodents are in a garage or outbuilding. However, because rodents like to make their nests in warm places, they may soon invade the home, so it's imperative they are removed as soon as they are noticed.

To sweep your home for rodents, check for nests in the kitchen beneath the stove and refrigerator or in storage areas and drawers. Wash all areas that have come in contact with the rodents with hot bleach water. Patch up any holes on the outside of the home as well as visible holes (even small ones) inside the home, especially around electrical plates, plumbing, and other wiring. Avoid poisoning methods. Mice and rats will eventually become resistant to it, and pets and children are in danger of coming into contact with the poison. Cats or dogs that eat mice or rats that have been poisoned will also be poisoned. Instead, patch access areas, remove food sources, and set sticky traps or live traps. Use protective clothing and gloves when removing carcasses, and disinfect the area immediately.


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