“You dirty rat” isn’t just the mantra of an old 1940s gangster. Several species of rodents are notorious for being filthy and carrying disease. They present a number of health hazards that every person should be aware of for the sake of themselves and their loved ones.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and others
This is the disease that often comes to mind when people refer to the health hazards inherent to different species of rodents. Since 1993, when it was discovered, there have been more than 500 reported deaths linked to HPS. One significant element of danger is that you don’t have to be bitten or even touch a rodent in order to contract the disease. This is because the virus is found in the feces and urine of rodents, and can be inhaled. This is why protective masks should be worn when cleaning up an area that contains rodent droppings.
In addition to Hantavirus, rodents are known to carry a number of other life-threatening diseases. They often serve as carriers of salmonellosis, leptospirosis, rat bite fever, and several other dangers. Some of these rely on a bite or other direct contact, but others do not.
Transmission of disease to other species
Staying away from rodents doesn’t always mean you’re 100% safe. A number of insects, such as ticks, fleas, and mites feed on infected rodents. After feeding, those insects can become carriers of the same disease that the rodent had been inflicted with. Then, all they have to do is find an unsuspecting human and the transmission of the disease continues. This is just another reason why ridding your home of rodents is imperative if you want to keep your family safe.
Contamination of food
Some species of rodents, such as squirrels, typically don’t try to enter your home. This does happen, of course, but it’s not too common. Rodents like rats and mice, however, are a different story. They will enter your home at every opportunity, looking for either warmth, food, or both.
Your pantry or other food supply makes an attractive place to investigate. Rats and mice will chew through whatever is necessary to reach your food. This usually means gnawing through the wood of your pantry or cupboards. Of course, they enter from behind, so they’ll start doing damage before you even know they’re in your home.
Once they’re inside your pantry, they will use it as their own private buffet. These rats and mice will chew through your boxes, bags, and whatever else they can get their teeth on. Any food that has been touched or eaten by a rodent must be thrown away, because there’s no way to know what kind of contamination has occurred.