Creating a Safe Home for Your Children

two mice

There are many factors you need to take into consideration as a parent to ensure that your home is fully safe for your children. One area that you must pay attention to is how rats and mice can impact the health and well-being of your children. In order to fully understand the dangers rodents present if they infest your home, you must understand the types of diseases that can be caused by rats and mice. Specifically, you need to understand how these dangerous diseases are spread.

Some of the diseases mentioned have not impacted the American public yet. Nonetheless, because of the nature of the global community, a disease that is occurring in a more distant country has the very real potential of becoming an issue in the United States at some juncture in time. The diseases that health agencies and organizations most seriously focus on when it comes to diseases spread by rodents include:
  • Salmonellosis
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Lassa Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Plague
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • South American Arenaviruses (aka Argentine hemorrhagic fever, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, SabiĆ”-associated hemorrhagic fever, and Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever)
  • Tularemia

Salmonellosis is a bacterium that is spread by rats and mice alike. Salmonellosis infects people worldwide, including in the United States. This bacterium is contained in rodent saliva, droppings, and urine. In most cases food or beverages become contaminated with rodent saliva, droppings, or urine that contain the Salmonellosis. The bacterium is then passed on to humans. The end result is better known as salmonella poisoning or food poisoning. Children are at risk for infection by salmonellosis.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

The Hantavirus has infected people in the United States for about 25 years. Historically, the virus was spread by a trio of rodents:
  • Deer mouse
  • Rice rat
  • White-footed mouse
Researchers and infectious disease experts believe that the virus likely is no longer constrained to these three rodents. In other words, they believe is likely that other species of mice and rats are carriers of hantavirus in the United States today.

Hantavirus is particularly dangerous for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is the way in which it is spread. Hantavirus can be spread by:
  •      Direct contact with rodents
  •      Direct contact with rodents dropping or urine
  •       Bites
  •       Breathing in droppings of dust contaminated by Hantavirus
If a person becomes infected with hantavirus, the infection ends up causing hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Three categories of people are particularly susceptible to developing hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: 
  •         Children
  •          Older individuals
  •          People with compromised immune systems
A significant number of people die if they contract hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Over 30 percent of individuals who contract it will die. There is no treatment or cure for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Those who recover do so for reasons that medical professionals cannot yet explain.

Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome is caused by a virus. Historically, the virus has been spread by one of three different types of rodents:
  •         Striped field mouse
  •         Norway rat (aka brown rat)
  •         Yellow-necked field mouse
As of this time, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome has not been a health issue in the United States. Having said that, the possibility does exist that the underlying virus is already in the country. If that has not yet occurred, the chances of it one-day infecting people in the United States is very possible. The countries in which the virus that causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome commonly are found are:
  •        Eastern Asian nations
  •        Russia
  •        Korea
  •        Scandinavian nations
  •        Nations in Western Europe
  •        Balkans
The virus that causes this disease is transferred between rodents and humans in a number of ways that include:
  •        Direct contact with rodents
  •        Direct contact with rodent droppings or urine
  •        Bites
  •        Breathing in droppings of dust contaminated by Hantavirus
  •        Direct person-to-person contact (although this currently is rare)
Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is not yet a disease recognized in the United States. Thus far, it appears to be restricted to countries in West Africa. Lassa fever results from a virus that is carried by rats indigenous to that part of the African continent.
  • The virus infects humans in a number of ways:
  •  Direct contact with rodents
  • Direct contact with rodent droppings or urine
  •  Eating food contaminated with rat droppings and urine
  •  Bites
  •  Breathing in droppings dust contaminated by Hantavirus
  •  Direct person-to-person contact (although this currently is rare)

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria that is spread by virtually all types of rodents, including rats and mice. People around the world are infected with the bacteria that causes Leptospirosis, including in the United States. Leptospirosis is spread in two basic ways:
  •        Eating food contaminated with rat droppings and urine
  •        Contact of skin and mucous membranes with soil and water contaminated with the urine of infected rodents and other animals
Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM)

Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, or LCM, is caused by a virus carried by the house mouse. LCM is found around the globe. The virus that causes LCM specifically is spread through:
  •         Direct contact with rodent droppings or urine
  •         Bites
  •         Breathing in droppings of dust contaminated by Hantavirus

Plague is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions at different times in history. Indeed, it decimated a significant percentage of the European population at one juncture in time. Plague is still a disease that people suffer in parts of the United States and in some other countries around the world. In the United States, the plague most commonly occurs in the Western states.

The plague is caused in one of two ways:
  •        Contact with an infected animal
  •        Bite from a flea carried by a contaminated animal
Rat-Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever is yet another disease that impacts people from around the world. Rat-bite fever is spread to humans through a rat bite or scratch. It is also spread through eating food and drinking beverages that are contaminated by rat feces or urine.

Due to the diseases that rodent droppings carry, it is recommended that you hire a professional rodent dropping cleaning company to remediate the situation.