Many people are concerned about mice because they get into boxes of crackers or chew on electrical wires. Mouse droppings are disgusting to clean up, but beyond droppings and nuisance, can mice actually present health problems? Some activists campaign against trapping and poison, but it is important to take a hard line with mouse control because of the health risks mice can present to humans.
Mice are adept at travel, and it is difficult to completely prevent them from migrating. Mice can move around the world as passengers on trains, buses, airplanes, and boats. Mice and rats can carry fleas and ticks that host diseases. Mice are a primary transporter of Lyme disease, which when contracted by humans, is not curable. Mice also nest, sleep, and live in close proximity to humans, so any parasite they come into contact with is easily spread to other houses or countries when a mouse is able to make itself a passenger—lice are especially common for mice to carry.
Hair and Droppings
Mice shed their coats frequently, leaving short hairs in their wake. They also leave plenty of droppings, especially when food is in plentiful supply. The hair can be troublesome to those with sensitive respiratory problems, and the droppings can become irritating as well, especially after they have dried and turned to powder. Anyone allergic to pet dander or those with sensitive asthma will find it difficult to remain comfortable in a home with a mouse infestation.
Salmonella. Because mice travel outdoors and are exposed to trash cans, dirty floors, and garages, they are carriers for salmonella. Food poisoning is possible if you inadvertently eat food that has been contaminated by a mouse. Crackers, leftovers, bread, and seeds are especially popular foods for mice. Never eat from a box that has signs of mouse tampering, even if the damage is slight. Seal all foods in airtight containers upon discovering you have a mouse in the house to reduce the risk of infection.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. This virus is carried by house mice. Not all mice have the virus—only 5% are carriers—but it is impossible to know whether your mouse is one of the unlucky ones. Humans contract the virus from exposure to mouse urine, droppings, and saliva. After the virus is contracted, it cannot be transmitted from human to human, unless you are a pregnant mother, in which case the fetus can be affected by the disease. The virus causes neurological problems, seizures, and in some causes, swelling and fluid in the brain. While not fatal, permanent nerve damage can result if the infection is virulent.
Hantavirus. This virus is also transmitted through rodent urine, droppings, and saliva. The virus is spread through airborne particles, and humans become infected when breathing the air with particulates from mouse excretion. The virus causes a disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. It begins with muscles soreness, fever, and intense fatigue. Infected individuals may also experience nausea, dizziness, and abdominal pain. After these symptoms subside, the late stage of the disease presents with severe respiratory symptoms—coughing, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. Hantavirus is quite serious, as it can be fatal in over a third of infected individuals.
To prevent disease and infection from mice infestations, consult professional pest-control services to handle trapping, poisoning, and cleaning after an infestation. Always wear gloves and wash your hands after removing dead mice from your home. Use a mask when cleaning up rodent droppings. Be sure to take signs of even one or two mice in the home quite seriously—chances of disease increase exponentially as infestations worsens. Contact a local mouse-control professional such as A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc for more information.Share