Mice- as a member of the family of rodents that includes prairie dogs and rabbits- are known to be associated with a number of potential diseases. However uncommon, they still pose a threat to both humans and mice themselves. Mice and rats in particular, are quite popular for spreading particular bacteria that belong to a group of over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans either directly or indirectly through various manners. One would be at risk for such a disease in the case of being bit by a mouse, by touching a dead mouse, or through touching mice excretions. Indirectly, these diseases can be spread through fleas, ticks, or mites that had previously been feeding on an infected or dead mouse. Several diseases associated with mice are as follows:
Salmonella is perhaps the most widely-known of all diseases carried by rodents. In mice, salmonella is mostly caused by the intake of contaminated/bad food. This disease is often the cause of death in mice and can be subsequently transferred to humans by direct contact with infected droppings among other ways as mentioned in this introduction. In humans, salmonella is known to lead to serious gastroenteritis, which is a fatal stomach related condition.
Hantavirus in humans is known to develop between 1 and 5 weeks after direct contact with urine, droppings, and saliva of infected mice. In its most extreme form, Hantavirus progresses to a severe respiratory disease known as HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome). Early symptoms of Hantavirus include fatigue, muscle aches, fever, headaches, dizziness, chills, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea. Early detection and intensive medical care is likely to counteract the symptoms of Hantavirus that may lead to healing.
LCM: Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis
Any direct exposure to mice excretions may lead to this disease, and it is known that 5% of house mice throughout the USA carry the transmittable form of LCM. Known to be more common in colder months, symptoms of this disease go beyond those previously mentioned with other diseases to include sore throat, cough, testicular pain, salivary gland pain and even meningitis. Although LCM is usually not fatal, it is still advised to seek medical treatment. LCM generally only occurs until two distinct phases of symptoms are depleted.
Internationally known as the disease that killed millions of people during the Middle Ages, Bubonic plague in its simplest form is a bacteria most often transmitted by the bite of an infected flea. Although more common in rats, it also occurs in mice. Infection in humans today occur mostly in areas in the west of the USA. Characterized by much the same symptoms as Hantavirus, Bubonic plague is a very serious illness, but is treatable with commonly available antibiotics.
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