When there are mice or rats living in the attic of your home, they can make a mess and cause damage to your property, which is why many people hire attic clean up and rodent proofing services at the first signs of these critters. However, rodents can affect your health as well. Some viruses or bacterial infections are transmitted from rodents to humans through direct physical contact. These can be passed through physical contact with the animal or through infected fluids like blood, saliva or urine. A few of the diseases that occur in the United States include:
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome occurs throughout most areas of North and South America and is spread by white-footed mice, deer mice, cotton rats, and rice rats. Transmission of the disease occurs through bite wounds, breathing in dust that is contaminated with the feces or urine of infected rodents, or through direct contact with contaminated feces or urine. The signs and symptoms of hantavirus typically occur between 1 and 8 weeks following exposure and can include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, dizziness, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
Spread by rats and possibly mice, as well, rat-bite fever is caused by bacteria. The disease occurs worldwide, and the strain that is found in North America is called Streptobacillus moniliformis. Rat-bite fever is spread through contact with dead rodents carrying the bacteria or through bites or scratches from an infected animal, or through contact with a dead rodent. The disease can also be spread by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with infected feces. Symptoms typically occur 3 to 10 days after exposure but can show up as late as three weeks afterward. The later the symptoms occur, the more difficult it can be to diagnose the diseases because any associated bites or scratch wounds will have healed. Symptoms can include vomiting, fever, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, and rash. Antibiotics are a highly effective cure, but without treatment, rat-bite fever can be fatal.
Leptospirosis is a bacteria typically spread by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the urine of infected rodents. Leptospirosis can also be spread if a person’s mucous membranes come in contact with contaminated water or soil. It can cause a variety of symptoms such as high fever, headaches, chills and body aches, among others. Because of the vague symptoms, it can be mistaken for other diseases. In addition, some people may not exhibit any symptoms of the disease. If untreated, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, liver failure, meningitis or respiratory distress. Occurring worldwide and carried by various rodents and other animals, leptospirosis is spread through contact with soil or water contaminated with the urine of an infected animal, as well as eating food or drinking water that is contaminated. When occurring in people, the symptoms of leptospirosis can include headaches, chills, high fever, rash, diarrhea, red eyes, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle aches, and jaundice. In some cases, it can even be fatal.
Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)
a virus spread by breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings. LCM is primarily spread by the common “house mouse,” Mus musculus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 5 percent of house mice throughout the United States carry LCM and are can possibly transmit the virus. The disease can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it’s been linked with congenital hydrocephalus, chorioretinitis, mental retardation or fetal death. LCM is usually not fatal for children and adults, but it does cause a variety of flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle aches and vomiting.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that can cause diarrheal illness. Although most often associated with poultry, salmonella bacteria can also be spread by food or drink that is contaminated with rat feces.
How Diseases Are Transmitted
While having pets is considered positive in many homes, having unwanted animals such as rodents living in your attic insulation is less appealing. Not only do rodents tear up precious belongings to make their nests, but they also spread disease. Working with a company that offers rodent control near San Francisco can help you to rodent-proof your attic. To help you better understand the risks of unwanted rodents; read on to learn about the diseases they carry.
Diseases Transmitted by Dust
From wild rodents, such as muskrats, to ordinary house mice and rats, rodents in your home pose a health threat for you and your family. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, Lassa fever, and lymphocytic chiro-meningitis can all be transmitted to you and your family through breathing in dust that a rodent has relieved itself on. These diseases can also be transmitted through contact with a rodent’s droppings, and, in rare cases, by being bitten.
Diseases Transmitted by Rodent Bites
Not all diseases from rodents are transmitted through the dust you breathe. Diseases such as the plague, leptospirosis, tularemia, salmonellosis, and rat-bite fever require direct contact with the contaminated rodent in order to spread. This contact is usually through a rodent bite or, in some cases, a scratch. To decrease your interaction with infected rodents, it is best to hire a professional to remove them.
Diseases Transmitted Indirectly
Rodents in your home invite other dangerous bugs and mites that pose health threats to your family. Ticks, mites, and mosquitos that feed on an infected rodents can spread diseases such as, babesosis, Lyme disease, murine typhus, West Nile Virus, and La Crosse Encephalitis—just to name a few. Rodent proofing your attic can lend to the prevention of the transmission of these diseases.
Protect Your Family’s Health By Rodent Proofing Your Home
In order to prevent the spread of these and other diseases, homeowners should take certain precautions when rodent-proofing their homes. Sealing all trash in closed, metal cans will make it more difficult for rodents to feast on any refuse. In addition, it’s a good idea to keep clutter in yards and garages to a minimum – disorder brings rodents closer to the home by providing a hideaway for them.
Rats and mice – two of the most common household rodents – are “commensal” animals, meaning that they live in close proximity to humans. They are adapted to living around houses, sewers, food storage facilities and kitchens.
However, rodent infestations are not just potentially annoying or hazardous to a home’s electrical wires, pipes and insulation. Rodents carry a range of diseases that can be passed directly to humans, which should make rodent-proofing a top priority for homeowners.
Homeowners should also make sure to patch up any holes in siding, or around the foundation and pipes. Rats can fit through openings the size of a quarter, while mice only need a space as large as a dime. Pay special attention to gaps and holes around pipes. Leaks can widen any holes and create entranceways.
If problems persist, it’s always a good idea to call in a professional. Rodent proofing isn’t just a matter of comfort – it can also be a matter of health.
If you are looking to protect your family from the health dangers of rodents in your attic, call AttiCare at 1-888-743-7243. Our expert staff is experienced in rodent control and rodent proofing. We look forward to helping you protect your family