What are the Chances of Getting Sick from Mouse Droppings?
Mouse droppings make the house pretty messed and cause it to smell. Like other dirty things around the home, droppings from a mouse can harm your health. This brings us to the question always asked: “what are the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings.”
Just to answer the question, the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings are meager, and it depends on how you made contact with the droppings. Mice carry different diseases like Lassa fever, bacteria, and now the newly discovered Hantavirus. While the diseases don’t hurt the mouse, their feces is what gives the virus and further transmits it to people and other animals.
As explained earlier, the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings aren’t that high, but if you make direct contact with the droppings of a mouse carrying any disease, then the chances become high, and the illnesses passed by mice are life-threatening.
Since you have some control over exposure to mouse droppings, you should only note strategies that you need to keep mice away from your home. But for knowledge sake, I will be listing out some of the dangers associated with mouse droppings.
Sicknesses Gotten from Mouse Droppings
In most cases, contact comes in the form of consuming contaminated food or water, which triggers allergic reactions in the human body. In some cases, once the droppings become dry, it can become hazardous to those who breathe it in.
So here are some diseases you get if you come in contact with mouse dropping.
Hantavirus is rare but quite deadly. Each strain of the virus is linked with a host of species of rodents. The virus is passed on via airborne transmission when virus particles from the animal’s feces, urine, and saliva travel via air and come in contact with an individual.
In some instances, a person might get the virus if an infected animal bites them. It is also possible to become a victim of Hantavirus if the person touches his nose or mouth after handling a surface that’s being contaminated by the virus, or by eating contaminated food.
Once infected, the victim develops what is called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).
Symptoms of Hantavirus include:
- Muscle Pain
These are the elementary symptoms, so if you’ve been in contact with mouse dropping or believe you must have to take in a contaminated meal, then do well to see a doctor ASAP.
At any point, you experience any secondary symptom, seek medical attention immediately. Late symptoms move pretty fast and can lead to death if medical care isn’t gotten.
Your chances of contracting Hantavirus from mouse droppings are very high if contact was from food or water
The bubonic plague is also known as the Black Death, and it is a contagious and deadly disease that is known for killing almost one-third of the European population during the Middle Ages. It was caused by the bite of an infected rodent flea, and some of the symptoms include;
- Painful swollen lymph nodes.
According to reports, a girl from Ohio was infected with bubonic plague in 2014 after she went camping with her friends.
Your chances of contracting bubonic plague from mouse droppings are very low
Salmonellosis spreads through so many ways, but it is quite common via mouse droppings. Though many people know of salmonellosis as food poisoning, it occurs more in houses infested with rodents and poses serious health issues.
It is transmitted by the Salmonella bacteria and some of the symptoms of salmonellosis include;
- Abdominal pain
Luckily it isn’t fatal, but I suggest you don’t find out by getting infected.
So the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings are high if you come in contact with food contaminated by droppings from a mouse carrying salmonellosis.
This disease isn’t quite common in America and other European countries; it is majorly found around African countries and carried by a multi-mammate rat.
- How the infection spreads;
- Direct contact with rodents’ droppings or urine
- Bite wounds from rodents – although it doesn’t happen frequently
- Direct connection from another carrier of the virus
- Eating meals contaminated with rodent droppings or urine.
Since not common in the Americas, Europe, or Australia, the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings infected with Lassa Fever is very low.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis, also known as LCM caused by lymphocytic Choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is a viral infection found in rodents of the family Arenaviridae.
It is commonly found in house mice, and the population of house mice with the disease varies by geographical location. The estimation is that 6% of house mice in the United States carry LCMV and are capable of transmitting the virus throughout their lifetime without showing signs of illness.
Other rodents such as hamsters aren’t natural carriers of the virus but can become reservoirs if in contact with infected rodents.
Humans are more likely to contract LCMV from house mice. Reports of infections are in the Americas, Europe, and Australia.
How the disease spreads
- Direct contact with infected rodents or their droppings or urine
- Breathing in dust that is contaminated with mouse droppings or urine
- Bite wounds from rodents carrying this virus – although it doesn’t happen frequently.
Your chances of getting sick from mouse droppings infected with LCMV is very high.
It is a disease that infects both people and animals, including hares, rabbits, and rodents, often die in large numbers during outbreaks. There are lots of ways people become infected, and it includes;
- Drinking contaminated water
- Skin contact with an infected animal
- Deer fly and tick bites
- Inhaling landscaping and agricultural dust or contaminated aerosols.
Symptoms vary, and it depends on how the person became infected. Even though Tularemia can be life-threatening, antibiotics are a perfect cure for it.
How to prevent Tularemia
- Wear gloves when handling sick or dead animals
- Use insect repellents
- Avoid mowing over dead animals
Infections occurring naturally from this virus have been reported spontaneously from all states in the US except Hawaii.
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How to Protect Yourself from Mouse Droppings
So we’ve established that the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings are low but also dependent on how contact was made. Some mice (deer mice) carry Hantavirus in their droppings and urine. The virus is rare and is potentially deadly for humans.
So if you are doing your annual spring cleaning and notice signs of infestation, you should be cautious while cleaning up. Here are a few tips to get rid of rodents and their dropping as well as protecting yourself and others.
Rat-Proof for winter
Before the cold weather sets in, you should move food sources, seal up cracks, trim back brushes, and eliminate clutters as much as you should.
Well, warmer weather conditions don’t necessarily mean fewer rodents, rodents can get into your home no matter what time of the year it is. It is also possible that they are already in your attic or basement. That simply means you should consider other steps as a means of dealing with mice dropping, nest, and dead rodents.
Air the environment
Before cleaning the space, open multiple doors and windows for at least 35 minutes to ventilate the space and allow fresh air to circulate. It is recommended you should leave the area while airing it out.
Wear your gloves
Rubber gloves or plastic gloves must be used at all times. Dust masks can also help protect you against molds, dust, and insulation fiber, but might not protect you against viruses. When you finish cleaning, wash your gloves with disinfectant or soap and water and then wash your hands after disposing of the gloves!
Don’t vacuum mouse droppings, always spray, then mop
To avoid string up dust that contains allergens that could be contaminated and infect you with the virus, it is advisable not to sweep nor vacuum mouse droppings. Instead, you should look to spray the location of the dropping with bleach and let it soak for about 15 minutes.
Then go-ahead to use a rag or towel to wipe up the droppings or next materials. Seal materials used for cleaning in a bad and dispose of them in an appropriate place far away from your home.
Steam clean or Shampoo your upholstery and bedding
So if you’ve notice mouse droppings or urine on your upholstery, clothing, or beddings, you should steam clean or shampoo or wash it with detergent in hot water. In some cases, you can use bleach to repel mice from even coming inside your home.
Seen dead mouse? Soak and dispose
If you come across a dead mouse in your basement, attic, or inside the house, wear a glove, spray a bleach solution, and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes. Pack the dead rodent or nest inside a bad, seal inside a second bag (if you wish), and then dispose far away from your house. If you caught the mouse alive, here is a guide on how to dispose of a live mouse
What you should know about getting sick from mouse droppings
Rats, rodents, and other harmful insects don’t just hide out in basements and garages. They are also present in your attics, cabins, sheds, BBQ grills, and build a nest in your crawl spaces, and even your cars.
Snap traps should be used to trap live rodents. Live traps and glue traps should not be used because they can easily scare the caught live rats and force them to urinate, which ends up increasing your chances of getting sick from mouse droppings.