Rodents, such as rats, mice, prairie dogs and rabbits, are associated with a number of health risks. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of dead or live rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, and through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through fleas, ticks or mites that have fed on an infected rodent.
This is especially concerning as the weather cools and rodents start to look for snug warm places to overwinter - like our homes. The National Pest Management Association estimates that rodents invade about 21 million homes in the United States every winter, squeezing through spaces as small as a nickel.
A focus on select infectious diseases
Rodent droppings can transmit and trigger allergies and food borne illness such as salmonella. Rats and mice are capable of dropping up to 25,000 fecal pellets each year, an estimated 70 times each day. Prevention and prompt removal in case of an infestation is the key.
These are some of the most common diseases associated with rodents:
We will cover each of these in subsequent posts.