Uninvited rodents are widespread during the winter months. Many people don’t understand that these Rodents Are Dangerous To Health. Rats and mice pose health concerns. Rats and mice spread 35 illnesses. Live or dead rats, rodent excrement, urine, saliva, or rodent bites can convey these diseases to people. Infected fleas, ticks, or mites can convey rodent diseases to humans.
When the temperature drops, rats seek out warm places to spend the winter, including our homes and vehicles. The National Pest Management Association estimates that rodents penetrate 21 million U.S. homes every winter. Rodents can cause allergies and spread salmonella. Mice can dump 25,000 feces every year, or 70 times per day. Rodent prevention and 24-hour pest control near me are crucial.
Hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, tularemia, and plague are rodent-borne illnesses.
“Sin Nombre” Hantavirus was initially identified in 1993 in the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S. (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah). Deer, white-footed, cotton, and rice rats carry this virus. Hantaviruses can cause kidney, blood, or respiratory illness, and in rare cases death. Rare but serious and unpredictable.
Hantavirus can be spread in numerous ways, although rodent infestation is the greatest concern. Fresh rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials become airborne and are breathed in by people. Deer mice carry it. Infected rodent bites can also spread the infection. Researchers fear people can get sick from eating contaminated mouse urine, droppings, or saliva.
Symptoms develop one to five weeks after contact with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. Hantavirus infection can lead to deadly Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Fatigue, fever, and thigh, hip, back, and shoulder aches are early signs. Headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort may also occur. Late symptoms of Hantavirus infection arise four to ten days after the initial phase of illness. Coughing, shortness of breath, respiratory discomfort, and failure. HPS is 38% fatal.
This virus has no treatment, cure, or vaccine, hence rodent prevention and control are vital. If an infection is caught early and the patient receives ICU care, they may do better. In these conditions, individuals with respiratory failure may receive mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM)
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, or LCM, is a rodent-borne virus (LCMV). The house mouse hosts LCMV. 5% of house mice in the US carry and can transmit LCMV. Hamsters aren’t natural carriers of LCMV but can get it from wild mice. Pet rodents have caused human infections.
Infected mice’s urine, droppings, saliva, or nesting materials can transmit LCMV. A rodent bite can potentially cause infection. Winter illnesses are more prevalent when mice seek warmer homes. Broken skin, the nose, eyes, or mouth, or a rodent’s bite can potentially transmit the virus. Vertical transmission from infected mother to fetus and organ transplantation have been documented.
First-phase LCMV infection symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, muscle aches, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Sore throat, cough, joint, chest, testicular, and salivary gland pain are less common. Second-stage sickness is neurologic. Fever, headache, and stiff neck are signs of meningitis, encephalitis, and meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the brain and meninges)
Most patients with LCMV-related neurological illness survive, however some need hospitalization. As with many CNS illnesses, including encephalitis, neurological damage is possible.
Infected pregnant women can spread LCM to their fetuses. First-trimester infections can cause fetal mortality and abortion. Second and third-trimester infections can cause eyesight issues, mental impairment, and hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
LCM has a 1% mortality rate excluding fetal infection. Meningitis, encephalitis, and meningoencephalitis normally self-limit, but severe cases necessitate hospitalization. In some cases, corticosteroids may be used for supportive and symptomatic therapy. Rodent management is vital to preventing LCM infection.
Plague killed millions in medieval Europe. Yersinia pestis causes this human and mammalian disease. Humans get plague from a rodent flea bite or from handling a plague-infected rodent. In 1924-1925, Los Angeles had the last urban plague outbreak in the U.S. In western rural and semi-rural areas, human plague infections continue.
Infected fleas usually transmit plague bacteria. If a plague-infected rodent dies, fleas will seek other blood sources, including humans. Dogs and cats may also bring plague-infected fleas into the home. Flea bites cause bubonic plague.
Bubonic plague causes fever, headache, chills, weakness, and swollen, tender lymph nodes (called buboes). Symptoms appear 2-6 days after exposure. The lymph nodes closest to where the bacteria entered the body are prone to buboes.
A plague can be spread by contaminated fluids or tissues. Unprotected hunters who skin infected animals may become infected. This causes bubonic or septicemic plague.
Septicemic plague causes life-threatening septic shock, fever, chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, shock, and skin and organ bleeding. Septicemic plague can be the first symptom or result of untreated bubonic plague.
Pneumonic plague is caused by inhaling bacterial droplets. Patients develop fever, headache, weakness, and pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough. Pulmonary insufficiency and shock may result. Pneumonic plague is the only form of plague that is contagious.
Early-stage plague can be treated with antibiotics. Without treatment, the disease can be fatal. The sooner a plague patient seeks treatment, the better his or her chances of a full recovery. Close contacts of pneumonic plague patients may need treatment.
To reduce plague risks, homeowners should seal any exterior cracks or crevices. Pet owners should actively manage fleas to prevent hitchhiking.
Francisella tularensis causes animal and human tularemia. During outbreaks, rabbits, hares, and other rodents die in large numbers. Tick and deer fly bites, skin contact with infected animals, drinking contaminated water, lab exposure, or inhaling contaminated dust or aerosols can infect humans.
Tularemia is common in the U.S. All states except Hawaii have natural infections.
How the bacteria enter the body affects tularemia symptoms. All forms cause 104°F fever. Most tularemia infections are treatable with antibiotics.
Ulceroglandular disease is the most common form of tularemia. It usually occurs after a tick, deer fly, or animal bite. At the site where the organism entered the body, a skin ulcer and swollen lymph glands appear.
Glandular tularemia has no ulcer, unlike ulceroglandular tularemia. It’s spread by ticks, deer flies, and sick or dead animals. Eye bacteria cause oculoglandular disease. This can happen if a butcher accidentally touches or breathes in infected animal particles. Eye irritation, inflammation, and lymph gland swelling are symptoms.
Infected food or water causes oropharyngeal infection. Oropharyngeal tularemia causes sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, and neck lymph gland swelling.
Pneumonic tularemia is the deadliest form. Cough, chest pain, and breathlessness are symptoms. Inhaling dust or aerosols containing the organism causes this form. Untreated ulceroglandular tularemia can spread to the lungs through the circulation.
The NPMA and our AND exterminators encourage the public to keep rodents out of homes and camps and to use tick and flea repellent. Contact an AND expert at (773) 945-0727 for more rodent assistance and help to find out How Do Rodents Get In The House.