Rodents can carry several types of bacteria and germs that can make you and your family very ill.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe illness caused from exposure to the droppings or urine of deer mice that carry the virus. About 1- 5 hantavirus cases are reported each year in Washington State and about one third of the cases have been fatal. It is important to take precautions when cleaning up an enclosed space such as a shed, cabin or trailer where mice have nested or rodent droppings are present.
is a disease caused by bacteria called Leptospira that infects both
humans and a wide range of animals. It occurs worldwide but is more
common in temperate and tropical areas of the world. Some people
infected with leptospirosis will have no symptoms at all, and some
people will become severely ill. Some wild and domestic animals, such as
cattle, pigs, dogs, raccoons, and rodents, carry the Leptospira
bacteria and pass them in their urine. Soil or water contaminated with
infected urine are the most common causes of human infection.
is a serious infection of humans caused by a germ called Yersinia
pestis. It is usually caused by the bite of a flea that has fed on an
infected wild animal, such as a rat, chipmunk or prairie dog. It usually
causes large sores and abscesses in the glands of the arms and legs.
Dogs, and especially cats, can also become infected and can spread the
disease to their human companions. People and domestic animals like dogs
and cats could be bitten by infected fleas while traveling to other
areas of the country. Plague is treatable with antibiotics.
is a bacterial disease caused by Francisella tularensis and is most
commonly found in wild animals (e.g., wild rodents, squirrels, rabbits,
hares and beavers). People and their pets can become ill from tularemia
by coming into contact with infected dead or ill animals through animal
bites and exposure to contaminated blood or raw meat. Tularemia can also
be transmitted by the bite of an infected arthropod (e.g. ticks, biting
flies), exposure to contaminated water or soil, and inhalation of
bacteria. One to 10 cases of tularemia in people are reported every
year. To prevent exposures to tularemia, don't handle dead or ill
animals; avoid animal bites, tick and deer fly bites; and avoid direct
bare-hand contact with blood and raw meat from wild animals. Don't drink
untreated water in areas where tularemia is known to occur in wild