Unless they are kept as a pet in a cage, mice are not usually wanted guests in your home. Not only are they destructive, but they can also carry diseases that can be serious if transferred to humans. Catch mice before they become a problem, and prepare your home to keep them out with proper pest control and precautions. In short, yes! Mice can make you sick.
What Heath Issues Can Mice Cause?
Although recent studies have found that rats were not the cause of the Black Plague that spread in Europe in the mid-1300s, it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for rodents to carry diseases. Luckily, we as humans don’t carry fleas and lice on us like we did in the 1300s. However, many rodents do still carry fleas and lice that contain numerous diseases. Mice themselves can also carry the diseases and they can be spread to humans through breathing contaminated air, touching contaminated surfaces, eating contaminated food, or being bitten by an infected rodent.
Certain mice and rodent species can also carry what are known as hantaviruses:
Other rodent species that carry the virus (not found in Washington) are the cotton rat, rice rat, and the white-footed mouse.
According to the CDC, common diseases that are carried directly by mice are:
- Lassa Fever
- Lujo Hemorrhagic Fever
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
- Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
- Rat-Bite Fever
- Sylvatic Typhus
Diseases carried indirectly by mice that can make you sick are:
- Colorado tick fever
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis
- Eastern equine encephalitis
- Flea-borne (Murine) Typhus
- Hymenolepis diminuta
- La Crosse virus
- Moniliformis moniliformis
- Powassan virus
- Scrub typhus
- Tick-borne Relapsing Fever
- West Nile virus
What is Hantavirus?
Hantaviruses are a group of diseases that cause a rare but deadly disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Hantavirus is extremely contagious, and anyone can catch it, even if they aren’t already sick. Hantavirus is obtained by breathing in air contaminated with the virus. This is why it’s so easy for rodents to spread the disease once they are in your house. If they are occupying the same space as you, it’s more likely that the virus will transmit through the air, especially when the air is stirred by rodent urine and droppings. You can also get the virus through a bite from a rodent.
Hantavirus causes fever, severe muscle aches, fatigue, difficulty breathing, headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
How Do You Prevent Mice From Making You Sick?
The easiest way to prevent mice from making you sick is to know what causes rodent infestations and take precautions to block them from entering your home. Call pest control immediately if you think you have an infestation. There are signs you can look for if you think you have rodents in your home. Keep your pest control active year-round, because mice and rats may become an even bigger problem in the winter as they look for shelter from the cold and rain.