3 Serious Illnesses That May Be Transmitted By Rodents
Whether your home is infested with multiple rodents, or is inhabited by only one, mice and rats can harbor dangerous, and even life-threatening, diseases. While the following conditions are relatively rare, you'll need to contact a pest control professional if you find evidence of rodents in your home. Here are three serious illnesses that might be transmitted by mice or rats, and what you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick:
Mice and rats can carry hantavirus, and while this infection is relatively rare, it is very serious. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, "early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders." Dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur in those infected with hantavirus.
Late symptoms of hantavirus include shortness of breath and coughing as a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs. Hemorrhaging and kidney failure may also develop. If you see rodent droppings in your home or if you see a mouse or rat, call a pest control professional as soon as possible.
Hantavirus can be transmitted to humans by handling rodent urine, feces, or nests, and by getting bit from an infected rodent. In addition to avoiding contact with rodents, sealing holes in your home, attic, and garage, placing traps around your home, and cleaning up food can also reduce your risk for contracting hantavirus.
The common house mouse can transmit a dangerous health condition known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Your pet mouse or rat can also become infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis if it came into contact with wild house mice in your home or if it was exposed to infected mice in the pet store in which it was purchased. Like hantavirus, this disease is transmitted through rodent droppings, urine, materials in the nest, and saliva.
Symptoms of lymphocytic choriomeningitis include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, and loss of appetite. In addition to these, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck can also occur as a result of brain swelling. People with compromised immune function, especially the very young, elderly, and pregnant women, may be most at risk for developing this illness. If you have rodents in your home and develop any of the aforementioned symptoms, seek emergency medical attention for further evaluation and treatment.
Bartonellosis is an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans by fleas that are found on rats and can damage the lining of your blood vessels. Symptoms include red spots or blisters on the skin, lymph node swelling, fever, fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal pain. In certain cases, seizures, inflammation of the membrane that surrounds your heart, and fluid in your lungs may develop, as can inflammation of the spleen, liver, and bones.
Treatment for bartonellosis includes antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, and while early intervention often results in complete resolution of this illness, complications or long-term consequences such as neurological deficits can occur. While bartonellosis is more common in very densely populated areas such as big cities, rats that you may see in your own neighborhood alley may also harbor this infectious disease through fleas on their bodies.
To reduce your risk of developing any of the above rare illnesses, seek the help of a pest control professional if you see a rodent, or if you find evidence such as droppings or nesting material. Never attempt to clean up droppings or materials yourself because doing so may expose you to dangerous airborne particles that can harbor disease. An experienced exterminator will take the proper precautions such as wearing a safety respirator and protective outerwear so that cleanups, entry sealing, and placement of traps can be done safely. Click here to find out more.