How are diseases transmitted by mice?
So far, there are six possible means by which house mice might be able to infect humans with the diseases that they carry. These methods of transmission are discussed in length below.
1. By Biting Humans, Pets and Livestock
Although the likelihood of house mice biting humans is very acute because mice naturally scurry away from humans, it is still very possible for mice to transmit the bacterium called Spirilum Minus and cause a relapsing type of fever to humans. Mice can come in contact with pets and livestock which frequently interact with humans. The bite of an animal infected by the bacterium can cause the same disease as the bite from an actual infected rodent. Fever caused by this type of infection is highly characterized by a recurring high fever that lasts about ten days per occurrence. The fever may occur twelve times.
2. By Mouse Droppings Food Contamination
Mouse droppings are often too small to alarm the homeowner of a possible disease transmission, thus giving the house mouse every opportunity to contaminate human and pet food with their droppings with very less suspicion. Nonetheless, homeowners should know that mice can surely pass organisms which can cause human diseases through their droppings and neglecting this fact might greatly compromise the health of every member of the homeowner's household. Mouse droppings can cause Salmonelloses which is a type of food poisoning that is rarely fatal although it can cause nausea, vomiting and fever.
3. By Urine Contamination
Most disease-causing bacteria are transmitted through feces or droppings, but there are certain fatal diseases too that are exclusively transmitted through urine contamination; Leptospira is a very common example. House mice do not naturally carry organisms that cause Leptospira but with rat-contact, mice might as well become carriers of the same disease. However, since the infection is spread through water and since mice naturally dislike water, there is a little possibility that mice do become infected.
4. By Eating Mice
It is not yet verified eating mice can indeed transmit diseases, but in theory, humans and cats that eat mice can be infected by whatever disease that is carried by the mouse. A kind of round worm which lives in the lungs of mice can be pass to a human or pet eating the mouse.
All these direct means of directly transmitting diseases to humans can be avoided if the homeowner employs the necessary measures to get rid of mice. The most common way to do that is to store food that attracts mice to nest in your house. Mice prefer in live in houses where there is an immediate supply of food around, that is, food boxes or packets that can be nibbled conveniently or un-kept food leftovers. Mice also make garbage as a good food source so it is obvious that homeowners should properly dispose garbage too. Garbage bins should have lids and should not be very large so as not to encourage the homeowner to not dispose of the garbage before the garbage bin is full (even if a day or two have passed).
1. By Pets
Mice can indirectly transmit a kind of fungal disease to humans. This fungal disease is known as Favus and it causes the appearance of small crusts on the skin which eventually becomes a yellow scab that falls off the skin surface. Mice can get in contact with molds that carry Favus-causing fungi, and then a pet cat may come in contact with an infected mouse and then infect his or her owner in turn.
2. By Plague Spreading
Plague epidemics are feared because of its nature to become widespread and incontrollable. Plagues originate from wild rodents which can infect domesticated mice through bites and scratches. Once domesticated mice are infected, the risk of a plague-out break becomes really serious that public health officials would immediately recommend quarantine. House mice do not necessarily spread the disease by itself, but once it dies inside the house, fleas would leave its body and carry the infection to their future human-host.
Since indirect transmission of diseases is also possible, homeowners should by all means keep their house clean. Attics and ceiling tops should be regularly cleaned so as to dispose of dead mice and other rodents that lay un-noticed there. Pets should be bathed and properly vaccinated too in order to help them resist diseases which they might carry to their owners. If possible, homeowners should submit their homes for de-contamination once in a year in order to be sure.
Other Mouse-carried Diseases
1. Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis - a viral disease that is spread by mice with the same viral infection. When transmitted to man, the disease takes the form of meningitis or a disease that causes an abnormal rise in the production of white blood cells in the body. The disease is benign and not known complication has ever been accounted. Once recovered, The person infected with the disease becomes immune to the disease for life. Mice spread this disease through fecal or urine contamination.
2. Histoplasmosis - a rare disease that is carried by a small organism called Histoplasma Capsulatum. The organism lives in the spleen, liver and the bone marrow of its host. The organism has been found in some house mice but it has not been confirmed if they are the source of the same organism that infects humans.
3. Tularaemia - a disease that is common to mice. Many other types of rodents carry this disease and they transmit this disease to an unsuspecting human who handles the disposal of dead rodents.
Some Non-Transmissible Diseases
1. Mouse Tuberculosis or Pasteurella Pseudotuberculosis
This disease is most common in rats and some pet rodents like guinea pigs and hamsters, but there are cases when mice have also become infected. This disease is exclusive to rodents and are non-transmissible to humans.
2. Mouse Septicaemia
This disease is caused by E. Murispepticus which is an organism that closely resembles that other organism which causes swine erysipelas.
It has already been established that mice do not transmit polio to humans but the discovery of the mice disease Poliomyelitis suggests that it is possible that mice are the original carriers of the disease.
It should be noted that this article has not yet covered all the possible diseases that are caused by mice.
Many of these diseases too are still being investigated by competent authorities and up until now, solid findings have not been released. It is best if homeowners simply assume that regardless of whatever findings these experts will have in the future, as of now, measures to eradicate mice in homes should be done. House mice infestation should be taken seriously and should be dealt with efficiently.