We will discuss the various viruses mice transmit and explore how they begin spreading diseases and ways to avoid contracting them.
Do Mice Carry Diseases?
Mice carry many human-transmittable diseases from the outdoors into our homes. The Center for Disease Control estimates mice and rats are responsible for more than 35 strains of illnesses. These diseases can range in severity and symptoms.
How Mice Spread Diseases
Mice and humans seldom intentionally co-exist. They do not voluntarily share space. Humans contract diseases from mice without actively realizing it. There are three primary methods of transmission for mouse-based disease.
Mouse waste is the most common transmission method for Hantavirus, salmonella, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Mouse waste impacts humans in three different ways.
Mouse waste becomes dust when infected mouse excrement, feces, or urine dries out. The particles become airborne, and humans inhale them.
Mice carry their disease and virus with them. Particles of their waste stick to their feet and fur. A mouse walking across a kitchen counter leaves behind bits of its excrement. Unknowingly, humans touch these surfaces and ingest the unseeable residue.
Mice also use urine to mark their territory. This increases the chances of human contact with diseased mouse excretions.
Rodent urine tainted water is the top spreader of leptospirosis.
Parasites often hitch rides on mice. Mice scuttle between the outdoors and inside freely and often bring passengers.
The many ticks and lice that latch onto rodents create many new potential risks. They can transmit illness from sick mice, but these parasites carry their unique threats to humans.
Mice do not often bite, but they can spread bacteria and sickness when they do. Mouse bites can also lead to rat-bite fever.
What Diseases Do Mice Carry?
Directly transmitted diseases result primarily from exposure to mouse excrements, such as dermal contact, accidental ingestion, or inhalation of dried waste.
So, what diseases do house mice carry? Mice carry numerous diseases. Some are asymptomatic in humans and never manifest in detectable ways. However, those that do can have lasting, adverse effects and transmit both directly and indirectly.
Mice are associated with certain diseases that can affect human health, including:
Outdoor mice primarily spread the Hantavirus. Fever, headache, and muscle pain all potentially indicate the early stages of the disease. Hantavirus is particularly dangerous. Untreated, it can lead to fluid in the lungs and eventual death.
While bacteria is hard to avoid, salmonella is a particularly nasty strain that mice happen to carry and spread via their droppings. Healthy adults may only develop a mild fever and notice stomach cramping (or diarrhea), but children and the elderly may become dangerously ill if exposed to mouse waste.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
Standard house mice spread lymphocytic choriomeningitis through waste and bites. Infected parties suffer various neurological impairments, ranging from encephalitis to meningitis.
When mouse urine permeates water, it can lead to leptospirosis. The infected suffer kidney damage and liver failure.
Below are other diseases that mice carry.
Directly Transmitted by Mice
The diseases below can be directly transmitted by mice.
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) is the name of a collective of similar illnesses. They are all off-shoots of Hantavirus. The symptoms of HFRS occur abruptly and include intense headaches and other flu-like symptoms. HFRS can end in renal failure, vascular leakage, and shock.
It is a dangerous neurological disease. A mouse with salmonella passes the germs in its waste. If humans accidentally ingest the germ, it becomes salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is also a digestive illness. Those who contract it suffer from diarrhea and nausea.
Indirectly Transmitted by Mice
Here are diseases that can be indirectly transmitted by mice.
It primarily occurs in the Northeast and upper Midwest of the United States during warmer months. It is very treatable when detected, though it can be entirely asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, Babesiosis can be fatal.
Colorado Tick Fever
This is relatively rare. However, it is not limited to Colorado, despite what the name suggests. It is present in the Western parts of the United States and Canada. Colorado tick fever is untreatable. Luckily, the symptoms are relatively mild. Infected parties usually experience flu-like symptoms, including chills and fatigue.
Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis
It manifests as classic flu symptoms. Sufferers experience chills, fever, fatigue, and sore muscles.
It is widespread but very treatable if diagnosed. Symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, facial palsy, nerve pain, and heart palpitations.
It causes a large rash to break out on an infected body. It is relatively mild and will, eventually, resolve itself, even if untreated.
The Most Common Mice-Borne Diseases in Canada
Deer mice and house mice are common in Canada, and both spread Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
The Hantavirus Carriers: Deer & House Mice
Deer mice and house mice are omnivores and seek out humans for their well-stocked pantries. Hantavirus, which they carry, spreads when we inhale infected house and deer mouse excrement.
How To Protect Your Family Against Diseases from Mice
The best way to avoid mouse-transmitted disease is to ensure a house is rodent-free. It is crucial to get rid of mice fast because one female mouse can produce a litter in less than a month and start spreading diseases. This article details 11 tips that you can follow to get rid of mice in your house.
Start by limiting access to food. Mice come into a home for two primary purposes: shelter and nutrition.
A small amount of food draws them in, so removing all temptation keeps mice out. Achieve this by:
- Cleaning up all food residue: Mice find the smallest amount of food or drink on any given surface. Ensure that all crumbs, spills, and food debris are wiped clean.
- Store food in air-tight containers: Storing foods in glass or rubber containers can limit the presence of rodents. Move foods like pasta and cereal into secure bins.
Seal Every Gap
Mice are tiny and can easily find access points. Caulk and steel wool are effective means of closing holes mice could enter through.
Disinfect Your Home Thoroughly
Rodents transmit most diseases through their droppings. Deep cleanings eliminate both the visible signs of waste and the finer dust particles that result from dried feces.
Use Natural Mice Repellents
Mice have strong olfactory senses. Certain scents repulse them. Strategically placing natural mice repellents, such as the ones below, can help keep mice outside.
Peppermint naturally repels mice. They despise the scent. Spray or place a cotton ball doused with peppermint oil in any location mice have been a problem.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Once a month, spray a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water outside the house and at any potential indoor entrances. The smell will keep the mice away.
Fabric Softener Sheets
Fabric softener sheets can be used as insulation. Fill any small space a mouse might use to infiltrate a home with a crumbled fabric softener sheet.
Mice are potentially hazardous to a person’s health. They carry a variety of diseases that people can contract in a slew of ways. Keep a clean, well-insulated house to avoid mouse-carried illnesses.