Rodents such as rats and mice are common in North American yards and homes. Did you know that rodents also carry more than 35 diseases, some of which are dangerous and even deadly to humans? Here are six pathogens that can be spread by rodents.
- Hantavirus is extremely dangerous to humans because there are no vaccines, antibiotics or other treatments for this disease. The virus comes from mouse feces, urine and saliva and can spread through the air. Deer mice carry a particularly potent form of hantavirus.
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCV) is commonly spread to humans by house mice. The symptoms of this disease include nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches and loss of appetite. However, LCV can lead to severe neurological conditions like meningitis, encephalitis and meningoencephalitis if left unchecked.
- The Plague (caused by Yersinia pestis) is still a modern-day threat. Rodents such as rats can carry the plaque and spread it to humans through infected fleas. There are three types of plague that can infect the immune system, blood and lungs. The good news is that plague can be treated with antibiotics.
- Salmonella is often found in the digestive tracts of rodents. Therefore, coming into contact with their fecal matter can spread these nasty bacteria. The bacteria can also be spread to humans through infected food, water and bedding.
- Rat-bite Fever is a potentially fatal illness. You don’t need to be bitten by a rat to contract this disease. In fact, handling infected rodents or consuming food and water contaminated with rodent feces or urine can lead to infection.
- Tularemia is found in many rodents like rabbits and hares. You can also get the disease by being bitten by an infected deer fly or tick. Tularemia is potentially fatal but can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.
How diseases are spread
Humans can catch the five diseases outlined above in the following ways:
- Inhaling or coming into contact with rodent waste such as feces, urine, saliva or nest material
- Being bitten by an infected rodent, or insect that has been in contact with an infected rodent
- Handling an infected rodent through skin-to-skin contact
Rodent and pest control in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
At Poulin’s Pest Control, we know how to safely control rodents like rats and mice in your home and yard. We also provide services to control gophers, voles and squirrels. We’re located in seven cities across Western Canada. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.