Mice – The Diseases They Carry, and How Dangerous They Are in Your Home
Wild mice aren’t the snuggly little creatures you’ll find at a pet store. Despite what fairytales may lead you to believe, they are disastrous little rodents that cause a myriad of problems. They multiply quickly and come in large numbers, and will destroy things in your home like electronic wiring, cushions, couches, and insulation, to name a few. Also, they are messy and will scatter leftover pieces of items they’ve gnawed on, along with food and droppings, which is where they become dangerous. Mice carry diseases in their droppings and urine that can harm humans, sometimes fatally. For your health’s sake, getting rid of mice quickly should be a priority.
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The Diseases You’ll Find With Mice
A mouse won’t give you a cold of flu; they carry things much worse. Not only will you find harmful bacteria, they carry viruses that are dangerous to contract.
Here’s an overview of what diseases you might find with mice:
- Hantavirus: This virus is transmitted almost exclusively by rodents, and causes problems with the lungs that leads to flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath. Further complications from Hantavirus will be explained in more detail later on in this article.
- Rat Bite Fever: Even though the name of this illness insinuates that it comes from rats, it can actually come from mice, also. Rat Bite Fever is caused by two different types of bacteria. Streptobacillus moniliformis is the bacteria you’ll find in North American Rat Bite Fever, while Spirillum Minus is responsible for what you’ll find in Asia. You can get this disease from being scratched or bitten by infected rodents, or just from consuming food or water that has been contaminated by the animals.
- Bubonic Plague: Although rare, the fleas that you might find on mice can carry this bacterial disease. If bitten, you’ll experience flu-like symptoms that progress into more serious manifestations like shortness of breath, and you could even develop gangrene in your extremities and go into a coma. One classic symptom of bubonic plague is extremely swollen lymph nodes nearest to the area you were bitten or scratched. Thankfully, antibiotics will kill the bacteria and bring you back to good health if caught in time.
- Salmonellosis: This condition is a type of food poisoning caused by consuming food or drink contaminated by mice urine, droppings, or saliva. You’ll experience cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Most people recover after a few days of misery without treatment, but sometimes symptoms are so severe that they need antibiotics or therapy for dehydration.
Field mice diseases
Field mice are one type of mice you might find in your home, although they’re more common outdoors. Because they spend a lot of time outside, they can commonly pick up deer ticks, which can carry Lyme Disease.
This is a serious condition that causes the following symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue.
- Pain in the joints.
- Stiffness in the joints.
- Inability to move one or both sides of the face.
Thankfully, Lyme Disease isn’t an easy thing to catch, although you won’t want to risk it by touching a field mouse. It can be treated with antibiotics, but the longer it takes to get diagnosed, the less effective the medication will be.
The more wild the mouse, the worse it is
Since mice that are in your home reproduce there and generally stay indoors (assuming they have a food source and access to a nest), their offspring have less of a chance of having the harmful diseases mice carry. And the more mice reproduce, the more mice are born that are less harmful.
In contrast, mice that are outdoors have more contact with contaminated mice than the ones indoors do, meaning that diseases are spread easily from wild mouse to wild mouse. And the longer a mouse spends living outside, the more diseases they can come in contact with, becoming more dangerous.
The health risks that come with mice
With all the diseases that mice can transmit, there are a lot of problems you can encounter.
Here’s a list of the common problems you can encounter from various illnesses carried by a mouse:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Joint pain and stiffness.
If you suspect that you might have contracted any illness from a mouse, contact a medical professional right away.
Viruses and Mice
A virus is different than a bacteria. While bacteria can be killed by antibiotics, viruses cannot, instead only being affected by immunizations, your body’s natural immune system, or anti-virals. In general, they take longer to get over. Mice can carry one virus in particular: Hantavirus.
Since mice crawl across the floors, they’ll leave their droppings there. If you have small children or pets, it will be easy for them to get a hold of those droppings. When you realize you have mice, be diligent about checking for mouse droppings and get rid of them immediately.
Hantavirus can be deadly, and one scary thing about it is that it can be spread simply through breathing in fumes.
It comes in two different types:
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: This type of the virus will cause a generic feeling of unwellness at first, with fatigue, nausea, and fever. About 10 days after exposure, you’ll start to feel shortness of breath, chest tightening, and greater fatigue than before. The mortality rate of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is about 40%.
- Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome: This sub-type of Hantavirus first gives you weakness, back and abdominal pain, intense headache, and flu-like symptoms. As the days progress, you might redness in the face and eyes, and a rash. The blood vessels in your body begin to leak, causing hemorrhaging, low blood pressure, shock, and kidney failure. If left untreated, this viral syndrome can end in death.
Getting rid of mouse droppings isn’t something you should take lightly. It’s important and serious, and needs to be done right. More details on cleaning up mouse droppings can be found here.
Does every mouse carry Hantavirus?
Not every mouse you find will have Hantavirus. But there’s also no way to tell which one has it and which one doesn’t, meaning that it’s much safer to just stay away from mice altogether.
Studies show that Hantavirus is more prevalent in the western United States. Also, some results have shown that years with more rainfall tend to lead to more cases of the virus, although that may be due to an increase in the population of mice that may come with extra moisture.
What about Deer mice?
Deer mice are the most common type of mouse to carry Hantavirus. They live in woodland or desert areas, and leave their droppings almost anywhere. The virus is said to be transmitted by breathing in dust that’s contaminated by mouse droppings or urine.
Rabies and mice
Rabies is a virus that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and some animals. Symptoms include fever and redness at the site of transmission, then leading to neurological diseases like confusion, excitability, violent movements, and coma. Only 6 people have ever been known to survive rabies once symptoms begin.
Fortunately, rodents are not considered carriers of rabies. Although it’s possible for them to contract the viral disease, they haven’t been shown to actually pass it to humans. Transmission because of an animal is usually from dogs, forest animals like skunks and raccoons, cattle, and bats.
Having mice in your home is a big problem. Whether you do it yourself, or you hire someone, it just needs to taken care of as soon as possible. Learn more about how to get rid of mice naturally by clicking here.
Mice in Your Home are Dangerous
Just because the mice in your home don’t venture outside, it doesn’t make them safe. Mice come from somewhere, meaning that they originally got in from outside. These could carry disease, which they might then transfer to the other mice that are born inside your home. Also, if there’s a clear way in and out of your house, mice that have usually lived outdoors can make permanent residency inside your walls. How do mice get in house? Click here to know.
The risks of mice droppings
Hantavirus is excreted into the mouse’s feces in their intestines. It will then make its way to wherever the mouse decides to leave it, whether on the floors or inside your walls or floorboards. As it dries, dust that comes in contact with it will settle, and then, pieces of droppings will begin to flake off. When the dust is disturbed, it will fly into the air and float around, taking tiny pieces of mouse droppings with it. Virtually invisible, it’s possible for you to breathe in this dust and become contaminated with the disease.
Wild animals don’t just carry diseases themselves; they also carry small insects that have harmful diseases, like fleas. But what about mice specifically? Do mice carry fleas? Find out here.
Even urine is harmful
It seems weird that such a bad illness can be transmitted in urine. With mice, Hantavirus is present in all excrement, including urine. Just as with their droppings, even dried urine can stay contaminated, where dust particles will pick up pieces of it and become airborne.
What about a dead mouse? Can it still make me sick?
In general, dead animals are something you should stay away from. As any dead thing decomposes, bacteria grow and take over. Plus, they might have insects like ticks and fleas on them that carry diseases themselves.
A dead animal can bring about many different types of illnesses like:
- Lime disease,
If you find a dead mouse, stay away from it until it can be disposed of properly. Call a professional, or if you must do it yourself, wear disposable gloves and a mask, then wash your hands with antibacterial soap afterward.
Mouse Droppings – Something to Stay Away from
So what do you do when you come across mouse droppings? First, make sure you don’t get too close. Get some disposable gloves, a mask so that you don’t breathe in dangerous particles, and a good cleanser like bleach. Remember not to vacuum or sweep them up, as that can stir up dust and only circulate the harmful particles more and more.
Take great care to gather the droppings in a sealable bag, then once they’re gone, scrub the area with bleach, still wearing your mask and gloves. Because mouse droppings can carry disease, throw them into a biohazard disposal, or burn them.
Something you might want to invest in is a good pest control professional. They’re trained in how to get rid of mice and their harmful droppings in a safe way. Learn more about a mouse exterminator here.
How long are droppings dangerous for?
Even though viruses shouldn’t last very long in mouse droppings, bacteria can live longer than that, and in reality, you often have no idea how long the droppings have been there for. In general, they are less dangerous after a couple weeks, but still not at all safe. Treat all mouse droppings with as much caution as you would take with fresh ones.
If you find mice in your home, don’t wait – get rid of them now. Their droppings can cause more harm than you might think, and can cost you hundreds or thousands in health care. Call an exterminator or take action, and remove those dangerous mice from your home.
You can find further details of Mice Control here.