Unless you happen to have one as a pet, there’s a fair chance that you don’t like rodents. For good reason: most of these critters (the wild ones, anyway) suffer from the three Ds: dirty, damaging to your home, and disease-ridden.
This last one is especially concerning to many homeowners. Ever since the Black Plague, the fear of disease spread by rodents has been widespread and well known. Rodent problems are not to be taken lightly, but disease is what many people are threatened by, no matter how clean their house is. But did you know that rodent droppings can be just as dangerous as having physical contact with them? Today, we’ll look at some of the diseases spread by rodents, which ones are spread through their droppings, and how to protect yourself.
Diseases spread by rodents
In case you’re wondering if we’re being overly cautious and exaggerating the need to be watchful when dealing with rodent problems, we can assure you that we are not. The truth is, there are several diseases that can be transmitted by rodents. In fact, you can find a full list — plus plenty of information about each one — on the CDC’s website by clicking here. That link will take you to the list of diseases that are transmitted directly by rodents, but you’ll also find a link of several other diseases that are transmitted indirectly; that is, ones that might be transmitted by parasites, ticks, etc. a rodent might be carrying. Just a quick perusal of the list should prove to you that it’s an important subject.
Diseases spread by droppings
Although you should be concerned with certain diseases carried by rodents, don’t let the above list scare you too much. The good news is that several diseases are not known to occur in the United States. Some, however, do appear in this country and are spread when dust in your home becomes contaminated by a rodent’s urine or fecal matter. These are the ones that fit the criteria:
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
- Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis
- Rat-Bite Fever
How to protect yourself
Of all rodent problems that you can experience, disease is the one you really don’t want to mess with. The trick is to simply act safely and responsibly. If you have a rodent infestation of any kind, and need to clean up their droppings, it’s a good idea to air out the room and use a face mask that will prevent you from breathing in any of the dust that might have become contaminated. If you have a reason to be overly cautious, your best bet might be to call a professional cleaner who is adept at this type of clean-up.
Photo Credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) via Flickr