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DISEASES DIRECTLY TRANSMITTED BY MICE
HANTAVIRUS PULMONARY SYNDROME
This disease occurs throughout most of North and South America. Not all rodents carry hantavirus and there is usually no way to tell when a rodent has the virus. So, it is wise to avoid all contact with rodents when possible. Though rare, it is severe, and sometimes fatal, respiratory disease. The disease spreads by breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine or droppings, or direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings, or bite wounds, although this does not happen frequently.
Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. About half of all HPS patients also experience headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a “…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face” as the lungs fill with fluid.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected mice, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Many different kinds of wild and domestic animals can carry the bacterium.
When these animals are infected, they may have no symptoms of the disease.
Infected animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment continuously or every once in a while for a few months up to several years.
Humans can become infected through:
- Contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected mice.
- Contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected mice.
The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.
LYMPHOCYTIC CHORIOMENINGITIS (LCM)
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, or LCM, is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease caused by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a member of the family Arenaviridae, that was initially isolated in 1933.
The primary host of LCMV is the common house mouse, Mus musculus. Infection in house mouse populations may vary by geographic location, though it is estimated that 5% of house mice throughout the United States carry LCMV and are able to transmit virus for the duration of their lives without showing any sign of illness.
LCMV is most commonly recognized as causing neurological disease, as its name implies, though infection without symptoms or mild febrile illnesses is more common clinical manifestations.
For infected persons who do become ill, the onset of symptoms usually occurs 8-13 days after exposure to the virus as part of a biphasic febrile illness. This initial phase, which may last as long as a week, typically begins with any or all of the following symptoms: fever, malaise, lack of appetite, muscle aches, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms appearing less frequently include sore throat, cough, joint pain, chest pain, testicular pain, and parotid (salivary gland) pain.
Following a few days of recovery, the second phase of illness may occur. Symptoms may consist of meningitis (fever, headache, stiff neck, etc.), encephalitis (drowsiness, confusion, sensory disturbances, and/or motor abnormalities, such as paralysis), or meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the brain and meninges). LCMV has also been known to cause acute hydrocephalus (increased fluid on the brain), which often requires surgical shunting to relieve increased intracranial pressure. In rare instances, infection results in myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) and presents with symptoms such as muscle weakness, paralysis, or changes in body sensation. An association between LCMV infection and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscles) has been suggested.
LCM is usually not fatal. In general, mortality is less than 1%.
Thanks to the cdc – http://www.cdc.gov/
FACTS ABOUT MICE
- There are more than 30 known species of mice.
- Mice are intelligent creatures with complex levels of communication, which is both vocal, often beyond the auditory range of humans, and odorous.
- A mouse eats 15 – 20 times a day. Therefore they usually build their homes close to food sources, tending to only travel up to 8 m from their burrows to find food.
- Mice are keen explorers. They find inventive ways of feeing satisfying their curiosity to investigate such as Mice squeezing through openings as small as the size of a dime. This means that a small crack or opening on the exterior of your home (such as where utility pipes enter) is like an open door for mice. Prevent mice from gaining access to your home by sealing any openings on the exterior with a silicone caulk. You can also fill gaps and holes inside your home with steel wool.
- Mice are incredibly clean, tidy and organised. Within their intricate underground homes they have specific areas for storing food, going to the toilet, and for shelter.
- Mice like to stay close to their home and usually only venture up to 3-8m away from their nest in search of food.
- Whiskers help mice to sense smooth and rough edges, temperature change and breezes.
- Mice have great balance and can walk along very thin pieces of rope or wire. They can even scale rough vertical surfaces.
- Mice are good jumpers, climbers and swimmers. In fact, mice can jump a foot into the air, allowing them to easily climb up onto kitchen counters or into pantries to access food. To prevent mice and other pests from getting into your food, store all pantry items items in hard, plastic containers with a tightly sealed lid.
- Sure, you know that mice can spread diseases like Hantavirus and Salmonella, but that’s just the beginning. In fact, mice can actually carry as many as 200 human pathogens!