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Health Risks Associated with Rodents

By July 8, 2023No Comments

Rodents can cause many problems within a home, including contaminating food and creating a fire hazard by chewing through electrical wires. Although rare, rodents can also spread dangerous diseases that can make you and your family sick. Understanding the methods of transmission and making a plan to keep rodents out of your house can help keep your family protected.

Rodents carry many diseases that can be passed to humans, but luckily, most of them are fairly rare. These diseases are transmitted through either direct or indirect contact with rodents. Direct contact may include: touching or breathing in feces or urine, eating contaminated food, handling a carcass, or receiving a bite. Indirect diseases are transmitted by a vector like a flea, tick, or mite.

​Deer mice are the main carriers of hantavirus. People who spend time in rural or wooded areas like hiking trails, fields, and barns are more likely to come into contact with deer mice. Hantavirus symptoms may include fever, chills, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and respiratory distress. Deer mice shed the virus in their urine, feces, and saliva, so proper clean up of infestations and handling of dead rodents is essential.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM)
The house mouse is the main carrier of LCM and spreads it mainly through particles of urine and saliva that get into the air or come into direct contact with the eyes, mouth, or areas of broken skin. This includes ingesting food that has been contaminated with the virus. Symptoms of LCM are fever, nausea, headaches, muscle aches, and vomiting. Severe cases of lymphocytic choriomeningitis may lead to meningitis and encephalitis.

Plague was once responsible for killing millions of people around the world, but it is now very uncommon in most first world countries. Plague is an example of an indirect disease. It is carried by rodents, but usually transmitted by fleas who feed on their blood and then bite humans. Plague can be found in over 200 wild animals, but some of the most common carriers are rock squirrels, prairie dogs, wood rats, ground squirrels, and chipmunks. Symptoms of plague may include: fever, headache, chills, and abdominal pain. Cases of plague are very rare in Ontario, and most infected individuals acquire it through travel outside of the country.
Preventing Rodent Diseases

Rodents can be dangerous, so homeowners should practice sanitation, exclusion, and extermination efforts. Here are some important ways you can prevent the spread of rodent diseases.

  • Seal the exterior of your home to prevent entry
  • Make sure windows and doors are tight fitting and keep garage doors closed
  • Clean your home regularly to prevent crumbs
  • Fix any leaky pipes or faucets that cause excess moisture
  • Do not leave your pet’s food and water out overnight
  • Keep rubbish bins away from your home
  • Trap any rodents that enter your home or hire a pest control specialist
  • Properly clean up any infestation that was in your home. Make sure to wear a mask and gloves and thoroughly disinfect the area.
  • Never handle dead rodents without wearing protective gear

​Rodent Control in Toronto

​No one wants rats or mice in their home, but the consequences can be more serious than many people think. Protect your home and family by calling the professionals at GTA Toronto Pest Control. Our team of experts can help you prevent and get rid of rodents and other pests around your home. For the best Toronto pest control, trust GTA Toronto Pest Control to get the job done right.