miceEvery fall, rats, mice and other rodents start to feel the Midwest chill and begin looking for warmer places to hide. As these pests begin their pilgrimage indoors, your home could be vulnerable to the disease and destruction that accompanies a rodent invasion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note 35 diseases that can be directly or indirectly attributed to rodents. In this article, we’ll focus on some of the diseases rodents carry, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Salmonellosis

Salmonella Microscope ViewSalmonella is a disease that can be contracted by consuming food or water that has been contaminated by bacteria found in rat feces, among other potential causes. Symptoms of infection, which develop within 12 to 72 hours and last 4 to 7 days, include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. While no specific treatment is needed, adequate hydration is important.

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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Hantavirus is a viral disease spread to humans through airborne inhalation of particles from rodent droppings, urine or even carcasses that carry the virus. Early Hantavirus symptoms can be mistaken for the flu, but progress into difficulty breathing, debilitation, and even fatality. Hantavirus is uncommon in the Midwest, but important to be aware of due to the potentially fatal nature of the virus.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is transmitted to humans and pets by drinking or coming into contact with water contaminated by urine from infected rodents. This disease is also associated with recreational use of lakes and rivers such as swimming, kayaking, and rafting. Leptospirosis symptoms occur between 2 days and 4 weeks after coming into contact with the contaminated water. A wide range of symptoms can occur from high fever and headache to jaundice and vomiting. If a second phase of the disease (also known as Weil’s Disease) occurs, the infected may experience kidney or liver failure or even meningitis. This phase could last from a few days to 3 weeks or more and, if left untreated, could take several months for recovery.

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from these illnesses is by taking preventative steps to keep rodents out of your home entirely. If you think you may have a rodent infestation, you should contact a pest control professional immediately. Remember – dealing with rodents on your own, even handling a dead mouse, can make you susceptible to dangerous diseases. Our professionals will be able to survey your home, identify signs of an infestation and provide the best treatment plan for removal.