They are everywhere in winter, forcing their tiny bodies into your home or even your car to find warmth from the cold outside. The presence of mice and rats becomes more apparent as they scamper around noisily, chew things, leave their waste everywhere, or even trigger unnatural behavior in your pets.
Mice and rats are the same rodents that usually infest the house. Rats are the larger ones, while mice are the smaller, slender type. Together, they cause more than 35 different kinds of diseases in humans in different ways. Every year, mice by themselves already produce 25,000 fecal pellets seventy times a day. All these spread at home and cause illnesses, prompting us to hire rodent control services at first sight of gnaw marks and droppings.
Rats and Mice Damage Home Structure
However, they don’t just spread diseases; they can do significant damage to the house too. They chew on everything they lay their eyes on to use for their nest-building, from clothes, books, upholstered furniture, car seats, insulation, wiring, and many other essential items.
No items will be exempt. They will just gnaw on everything that can cause serious harm to the home overall, especially when they damage the wiring or nest on large appliances, resulting in their malfunction, short circuit, and even worse, fire.
While they also chew on exposed surfaces, they’d prefer to eat away any item in hidden or undisturbed areas, which they found to be more secure and comfortable than any other parts of the home.
How They Spread Diseases Around the Home
They may chew on everything to use for their nests, but it’s the food that attracts them the most. It’s this scavenging and scampering around the home that they leave their fecal and urine droppings. This way, they contaminate everything around the home and leave scent trails for other rodents to know that your home or car is a great place to live.
When they’re in the cupboard and pantry, they leave their fecal pellets, urine, and hair as they eat. They do more damage than eating since they only eat three grams every day, but they destroy food—ten times more than they consume.
All in all, they nibble on human and pet food, rendering them inedible. When you eat or drink these contaminated goods, you are most at risk of getting infected, having your allergies triggered, contracting food-borne illnesses, and more. Another way they spread diseases is when pests such as mites, ticks, and fleas have fed on an infected rodent and bite humans. Your lawn may be magnets for ticks, and with rodents around the home, they may hitchhike on their back and bring diseases such as Colorado tick fever and Lyme disease.
Having been bitten by these rodents or touching their dead bodies can cause illness too. Rodent bites can cause rat-bite fever. Getting into contact with live rodents that are infected is another way that can put you at risk.
Common Diseases That Rodents Bring
While they bring more than thirty-five diseases, six of them are the most common. Here are some of them:
This virus is usually brought by cotton rats, white-footed mice, deer mice, or rice rats. It’s dangerous and worse, has yet no discovered effective vaccine, cure, or treatment. Hantavirus is mainly spread airborne when their waste or nesting materials are stirred up and breathed in.
The symptoms will usually show from one to five weeks, characterized by fever, fatigue, muscle aches in the hips, thighs, shoulders, back, chills, headaches, dizziness, and abdominal issues.
2. Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis
Also called LCM, common house mice cause this viral disease. Those who own hamsters as pets can also get the infectious disease from them, although they’re not natural carriers, just infected by wild or house mice with LCM virus.
At first, symptoms show up as headache, nausea, lack of appetite, and muscle aches. Then, the person may experience neurological diseases like meningoencephalitis, encephalitis, or meningitis.
The same plague killed so many people during the Middle Ages and came in several types such as septimec, bubonic, and pneumonic. Infected fleas are the usual culprits. Symptoms vary according to the kind of plague.
When consuming contaminated food, people contract salmonella bacteria and then experience nausea, fever, vomiting, chills, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.
5. Rat-bite Fever
Apparently, this fever is usually caused by rat bites, but it may also be when people touch infected rodents or eat contaminated food. Symptoms include rashes, headaches, fever, muscle pain, and vomiting.
Eliminate Rodents at Your Home Right Away
The extent of rodents’ damage is disastrous and lethal enough, so be sure to get rid of them right away once you notice them scampering around your home.