3 Scary Diseases Mice Carry
Many different kinds of rodents carry diseases. Here are a few of the most shocking diseases that mice can carry and transmit in your home.
Hantavirus is actually a group of several different debilitating virus’ that can infect a person’s respiratory system, kidneys, or blood and, in some serious cases, is fatal. Symptoms of contracting the virus include:
- Muscle Soreness/Aches
- Intense Stomach Pain
- Nausea, Vomiting, and or Diarrhea
Rodents can pass hantavirus through bites, direct contact with mouse urine or droppings, or if droppings or nesting materials get shifted enough to cause the disease to become airborne.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
This disease is caused by the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and can be contracted through direct contact with the saliva, nesting martials, and excrements of infected mice. Though rare, very occasionally pet mice can become infected with LCMV and can potentially pass it on to their caretakers. However by limiting their interactions with other mice (especially wild mice) and regular vet visits, this risk can be eliminated. Luckily, no cases of transmission from person to person has ever been reported. When infected, people may experience flu-like symptoms in the first phase of the disease including:
- Sore Throat
- Lack of Appetite
- Aching Muscles and Joints
- Nausea and/or Vomiting
- Salivary Gland Pain
When the virus advances to the second stage, it begins to attack the neurological centers of the body causing some highly debilitating symptoms:
- Intense Headache
- Neck Stiffness
- Intense Drowsiness
- Sensory Disturbances
- Abnormalities in Motor Functions
- Acute Muscle Weakness
In more extreme cases, infected individuals can experience inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, increased fluid on the brain, or even inflammation of the heart muscles. While these are highly concerning and dramatic symptoms, LCM is not typically fatal with a death count under 1% with respect to reported cases.
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS)
HFRS is actually a subfamily of hantavirus’ that includes: nephropathia epidemica, Korean hemorrhagic fever, and epidemic hemorrhagic fever. While transmission amongst humans is possible, it’s rather rare and cases are typically caused by exposure to infected mice or rats. Depending on the specific virus that caused the HFRS, the systems can vary in severity from more basic symptoms such as:
- Intense Headaches
- Abdominal Pain and Nausea
- Back Pain
- Fever or Chills
- Blurred Vision
- Flushing of the Face
- Redness or Inflammation of the Eyes
To more drastic and life-threatening symptoms including:
- Low Blood Pressure
- Vascular Leakage
- Kidney Failure
- Acute Shock
- Severe Fluid Overload
Due to the vast varieties of the disease, a mortality rate for cases is difficult to nail down however the average seems to be between 1%-15% of cases are potentially fatal. If caught early, an antiviral drug can be administered to curb the effects of the disease and greatly decrease the virus’ chances to advance to a fatal stage. While it’s fantastic that these treatments are available, prevention is the best course of action when it comes to any of these mice-borne diseases.
Health Hazards Posed by Rodents (2014) Pest World. National Pest Management Association. Available at: https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-health-hub/health-hazards-posed-by-rodents/ (Accessed: June 2020). Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) (2017) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/hfrs/index.html (Accessed: June 2020). Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM): Signs and Symptoms (2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lcm/symptoms/index.html(Accessed: June 2020).