Seeing and hearing mice and rats scuttling around your home can be unsettling. However, there’s a much more urgent reason to take care of your property’s rodent infestation: disease. Along with contributing to allergies and asthma, rats and mice are capable of spreading illnesses and contaminating your food, water, and even your indoor air.
Below, we’ll explain the health risks posed by feral rodents and why infestations should be controlled as soon as possible.
Rodents can transmit diseases directly.
In the United States, you can contract various diseases directly from an infected rodent in several ways:
- Through a bite or scratch wound (though this is highly uncommon)
- Direct contact with a rodent
- Direct contact with rodent urine or feces
- Ingesting food or water contaminated by rodent urine or feces
- Contact through the skin or mucous membranes with soil or water contaminated by urine from an infected rodent
- Inhaling dust or droplets contaminated by rodent urine or feces
- Handling a rodent’s carcass
Given that most people don’t attempt to handle wild rodents, diseases are not typically spread through bites and scratches. However, it’s much more common to contract a disease from contaminated food, water, or dust in the air. Some examples include salmonellosis, tularemia, and leptospirosis.
Rodents aren’t very picky about where they do their “business” and answer Nature whenever it calls, wherever they are–whether it’s outside, in your pantry, inside an air duct, etc. Typically, rodents don’t even stop to urinate. They simply let it happen as they scamper along–not a pleasant thought, but it illustrates how rodents can contaminate a large area in a relatively short amount of time.
Even if you keep your food well protected in sturdy containers, rodents can still contaminate your home’s “breathing air.” For instance, hantavirus spreads mainly through airborne transmission, which occurs when droplets from rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials get stirred up into the air and inhaled.
Rodents can transmit diseases indirectly.
Along with spreading diseases directly, rodents host parasites that can harm you, your pets, and livestock around your property. In this way, rodents can spread diseases indirectly. Some of the parasites rodents carry include ticks, mites, and fleas.
Beyond itchy bites, these tiny bugs can transmit illnesses such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease. Fortunately, these are treatable afflictions, thanks to modern medicine. However, if preventative measures are not taken in time to treat these diseases, the negative health impacts can be severe and sometimes fatal.
You Might Also Like: Rodents Revealed
Rodents can aggravate allergies and asthma.
Allergies to things like pollen and pet dander are well known, but many people are surprised to learn that rodents possess multiple allergy and asthma triggers. Things like rodent saliva, dander, urine, and droppings can cause more frequent attacks in those with asthma and cause allergic symptoms like sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, shortness of breath, and persistent wheezing.
Just how common are mouse allergens in homes? According to a nationwide survey of 800 urban and non-urban homes, 82 percent contained detectable levels of mouse allergens! Of the various locations that were tested within those homes, the kitchen floors had the highest mouse allergen concentrations, followed by the beds and bedrooms floors.
Controlling a Rodent Infestation In Your Home
Rodent infestations can grow quickly if left unchecked. Keep an eye out for the following “red flags.”
- Scratching or scurrying sounds
- Small, dark, pill- or rice-shaped droppings
- A stale ammonia smell (which usually indicates rodent urine)
- Torn papers, cardboard, fabric, clothes, and furniture (used by rodents for nest-making)
- Teeth marks and other signs of chewing and gnawing
If you observe any of the warning signs above, don’t wait to involve our Boston rodent control experts at Pestex Inc: (617) 332-3344. As a QualityPro-Certified company, we employ only the most qualified, highly trained, and experienced individuals, and we are proud to provide our customers with effective treatments and easy-to-understand service agreements.
You Might Also Like: The 6 Signs of a Rodent Infestation