While there’s definitely the scare factor when it comes to rodents, there’s an even more important reason to make sure they stay out of your home. For centuries, rodents have spread disease, like the four lethal ones listed below. Your No. 1 defense against these ailments is to make sure your home is rodent-free.
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) – This is a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by contact with rodents and has a mortality rate of 38%. Some of the flu-like symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, dizziness, chills and abdominal issues. Species that carry hantavirus include White-Footed Mouse, Cotton Rat, Deer Mouse, and Rice Rat.
- Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HRFS) – Symptoms of HFRS typically take 1 to 2 weeks to develop and can include headaches, back and abdominal pain, fever, blurred vision. Rodents that carry HRFS include The Striped Field Mouse (Apodemus agrarius), The Brown Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus), The Black vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) and The Yellow-Necked Field Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis). Fatality ranges from less than 1% to 15%, depending on which virus is the source of the illness.
- Rat-Bite Fever (RBF) – An infectious disease that is caused by two different types of bacteria and occurs often in Asia but cases have been reported elsewhere. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, vomiting, headache, joint pain and rash. The onset of symptoms usually takes 3-10 days to start. RBF is carried by the Common Rat (Rattus). The mortality rate for Rat Bite Fever is 7%-13%. In recent years, Rat-Bite Fever made national news when a 10-year-old boy in California died as a result of a bite from his pet rat in 2013.
- Tularemia – A highly contagious disease found in humans and animals. While rodents can infect humans, they can also be infected from tick and deer fly bites, contaminated water and contaminated aerosols or agriculture. Part of what makes this disease so contagious is that direct contact with an infected party isn’t required to get infected. Most rodents can be infected. Symptoms include skin ulcer a site of infection, sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, swelling of lymph glands and difficulty breathing. Most patients completely recover from tularemia.