A 2021 report revealed that almost 14.8 million US households had seen mice or rats at home in the last 12 months. Worse, nearly three million have also encountered rodents and roaches in 2019.
All that proves how prevalent mice infestations are in the US, so you likely have the same problem.
Either way, it’s imperative to get rid of mice right away as they can cause fire hazards. According to experts, rodents, including mice, might be behind 20% to 25% of fires with no known origins.
What about illnesses, though? Do mice carry diseases, too?
This guide will get to the bottom of that question, so be sure to keep reading!
Do Mice Carry Diseases?
Yes, they do because they are vectors.
Vectors are living organisms that carry pathogens. Pathogens, in turn, are disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
As vectors, mice can spread the pathogens into humans and other animals.
How Do Mice Spread Diseases?
The health dangers of mice can spread through direct and indirect means.
An example of direct transmission is through a mouse bite. Another is by touching the animal’s bodily fluids or excrements, such as saliva, urine, or feces.
As for indirect transmission methods, mice can spread diseases through other vectors. For example, they can transfer the pathogens they carry to fleas, mites, or ticks that feed on their blood.
From there, the blood-sucking insects can become infected. They can then transmit the disease to humans and other animals by sucking on their blood.
What Diseases Do Mice Carry and Transmit Then?
Mice and rats spread more than 35 diseases worldwide. Many can cause severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fevers. Others are even deadly if not treated right away.
Below are some of the most common diseases that you can get from mice.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
HPS is a severe respiratory disease caused by hantaviruses carried by white-footed mice. Infected mice can shed the pathogens through their droppings, saliva, and urine.
Hantaviruses can get into the air via a process called airborne transmission. Breathing in that virus-infected air can then infect humans.
Disturbing mice nests can also cause hantaviruses to mix with the air. The same may happen if an infected mouse bites you.
In any case, HPS can cause symptoms like fatigue, fever, and sore muscles. In addition, headaches, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain may occur.
If left untreated, HPS can induce coughing and severe shortness of breath. Worst, it can be fatal. Experts say that it has a mortality rate of 38%.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria. Rodents, including the common house mouse, can carry Leptospira. They shed the pathogen through their urine.
Leptospirosis isn’t that common, but up to one million people worldwide still get it each year.
You can get exposed to Leptospira by touching the urine of infected animals. The risk of developing leptospirosis is higher if the bacteria get inside a wound. You’re also at risk if you drink contaminated water.
High fever, headaches, chills, body pain, vomiting, and jaundice are common leptospirosis symptoms. The disease can also cause eye redness, rashes, diarrhea, and stomach pains.
Untreated leptospirosis can result in kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and, worst, death.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
LCM is an infectious disease caused by the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The common house mouse, in turn, is the primary vector of the virus. Experts believe that at least 5% of house mice in the US carry LCMV.
LCM often occurs in two phases. The first phase may lead to fever, appetite loss, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, cough, sore throat, chest pain, joint pain, and even testicular pain may also occur.
The second phase of the illness may bring about meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis.
LCM isn’t usually fatal, but it can cause temporary or permanent neurological damage. For example, it may lead to arthritis and nerve deafness.
A plague is a disease caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Mice and many other rodents carry this pathogen and transmit it through bites. However, indirect transmission can also occur via an infected rodent flea bite.
The most common types of plague include bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Fever, headache, and weakness are the most frequent symptoms of all three.
The good news is that plague is no longer common in the US; only one to 17 cases occur each year. Still, it’s imperative to seek medical help right away, as it can be life-threatening.
Mice can also carry salmonella, a group of bacteria that causes salmonellosis. You can get it if you eat food or drink water contaminated by mice’s feces or urine.
Some of the most common salmonellosis symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, and cramps. It may also cause fevers, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
Indirectly Transmitted Diseases
There are at least 15 diseases that rodents can transmit indirectly.
Those that come from mice are Lyme disease, babesiosis, and Colorado tick fever. Others include anaplasmosis, rickettsioses, relapsing fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How Professional Mice Pest Control Can Help
The best way to prevent diseases caused by mice is to stop them from coming into your house. However, it’s best to hire a pest control company if you already have a current infestation. That way, the pros can exterminate the pests that have invaded your home.
Moreover, pest control experts can help prevent future infestations. According to the folks at Biotech Termite & Pest Control, one way they can do that is by sealing off points of entry. That includes patching holes inside and outside your home that mice and other pests can use as a gateway.
Mice in the Home Are Harmful
There you have it, the guide that answers your question, “do mice carry diseases?” Now, you know that they do and can spread illnesses through direct and indirect methods. That’s enough reason to remove them from your home and prevent them from coming back.
So, if you think you have a mice infestation, it’s best to get on the phone with a pest control company. The sooner you do, the sooner you can have the experts eliminate them.
Are you ready for more home-related guides like this? Check out our other recent blog posts, then!