Diseases Caused by Rodents & How They Spread

Rodents of different species carry different kinds of virus that can infect humans either in a fatal or non-fatal manner. It is essential to know what species transmit what kinds of disease and the ways they can infect human beings.

(i) Salmonellosis – This disease is carried by common rats and mice. It is transmitted via drinking water and eating food contaminated with rat excrement.

(ii) Tularemia – Wild rodents such as squirrels, beavers and muskrats carry with them such bacteria. Humans can contact such disease via breathing in the bacteria, ingesting contaminated food or water, improper handling of infected animal carcasses, and getting bitten by an infected deerfly, tick or other kind of insect.

(iii) Plague – Rodents involved include chipmunks, wood rats, fox squirrels, rock squirrels, and ground squirrels. A human can get infected with such disease via bite by an infected flea or direct contact with an infected animal.

(iv) Rat-bite Fever – Rats and possibly mice can transmit such disease. Water and food contaminated with rat droppings can pass the virus to human beings. In addition, a human can get this disease if he/she gets bitten or scratched by an infected rodent. Physical contact with a dead rodent is also another means of transmission.

(v) Leptospirosis – Rodents and other kinds of animal are the carriers. Humans can get infected via skin contact with soil or water contaminated with rodents’ urine. Moreover, ingestion of food and water contaminated with the urine of rodents can pass this on to human beings.

(vi) Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM) – House mice carry such virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with a mouse, its feces and urine, bites from a mouse, and inhalation of dust contaminated with its urine and feces (i.e. it’s airborne).

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https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/small-mammals/petrodents.html (Image source only)
https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/04/25/525363273/what-s-it-like-to-be-squirrel (Image source only)
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