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What Infections Are Rodents Transmitted?

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Rodents such as rats, mice, voles and others are carriers of dangerous diseases and can live in various places with low sanitary standards. Their presence in the environment can pose a threat to human health, affecting various systems of the body, including the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems.

Humans can become infected by inhaling fumes from rodents that leave their excrement on food, water, furniture, and other surfaces. The second source of infection can be insects that parasitize rodents, such as mosquitoes, bedbugs, ticks and others. Wild animals can also carry various bacteria from their natural habitats, leading to so-called natural focal diseases that are independent of human intervention.

Rodents can transmit dangerous diseases to humans, such as plague, typhoid, rabies, brucellosis and others. Among natural focal diseases, leptospirosis, pseudotuberculosis and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) are important. In this article we will look at the symptoms, effects and methods of preventing these diseases.

Leptospirosis

One infectious disease that requires attention is leptospirosis. This disease is caused by special microorganisms known as Leptospira, which thrive in warm, humid places to live. Leptospirosis is transmitted through water, food and contact with infected animals. For example, infection can occur during bathing, drinking unboiled water, or eating food that has been fed by rodents, meat or milk from infected animals. Leptospira can also enter the bloodstream through small cuts or abrasions on the skin.

The incubation period for leptospirosis can last from several days to a month. Symptoms of the disease may include:

  • Increased body temperature (38-39°C);
  • General weakness and fatigue;
  • Headache;
  • Joint pain (especially in the legs);
  • Swelling, redness and rash on the face;
  • After a few days, lower back pain and urinary problems may appear. If symptoms are ignored, the disease can lead to kidney disease, significant blood loss, blurred vision and other complications.

To prevent infection it is important:

  • Avoid contact with rodents, their excrement or carcasses with bare hands;
  • Vaccinate animals (cows, goats, etc.) and pets;
  • Get vaccinated yourself;
  • Carry out preventive measures for deratization on the site, in the house and other premises;
  • Comply with food storage standards established by sanitary services;
  • When working in areas where infection is possible, wear specialized clothing;
  • Monitor the quality of water in ponds and reservoirs, if necessary, call supervisory services in recreation areas of the population;
  • Avoid drinking water from reservoirs;
  • Inform people about the risks of drinking dirty water;
  • Observe personal hygiene.

HFRS

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a condition characterized by territorial attachment and the development of thrombohemorrhagic syndrome with kidney damage. This virus is transmitted by airborne droplets and can be found in dust contaminated by fumes from rodent excrement. HFRS most often affects people who work with land, feed, hay and straw, as well as those who clean premises. Infection is also possible through eating contaminated food.

The incubation period for HFRS can last from a week to a month and a half. Symptoms of the infection are similar to leptospirosis, and cardiovascular problems, swelling of the lungs and brain, kidney ruptures and other complications can occur.

To prevent infection it is important:

  • Avoid contact with rodents of any kind;
  • Conduct deratization in vulnerable areas, industrial premises and suburban buildings;
  • Regularly check the integrity of the structures of barns and warehouses where feed and grain crops are stored;
  • Use protective clothing and respirators during agricultural work;
  • Comply with the standards for the arrangement of summer camps, boarding houses and country houses (clean up from weeds, wild plants, allocate space for waste and garbage, build durable storage facilities);
  • Observe personal hygiene.

Pseudotuberculosis

Pseudotuberculosis is an acute infectious disease caused by intestinal bacteria, which leads to intoxication and damage to the skin and gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Pathogenic bacteria can be found in soil, water and in the bodies of rodents. Pseudotuberculosis occurs when consuming raw foods (fish, cabbage, apples) grown in unfavorable conditions.

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Increase in body temperature up to 40°C;
  • Weakness;
  • Chills;
  • Headache, joint and muscle pain;
  • Runny nose and sore throat;
  • Redness of the skin;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Vomiting, nausea and loose stools.

To prevent this disease it is important:

  • Scheduled monitoring of the condition of vegetable barns;
  • Monitor the integrity of the country house and warehouses;
  • Repair cracks and holes in dacha structures;
  • Deal with rodents in a timely manner;
  • Drink boiled water;
  • Conduct sanitary inspections of food bases and blocks;
  • Properly transport, store and sell food;
  • Observe personal hygiene;
  • Eat only fresh food.

Tularemia

The last dangerous disease that will be discussed in this article is tularemia. In humans, it causes fever, affects lymph nodes and other organs, and can enter the body through the eyes, lungs, skin, stomach and other places. Tularemia bacteria are very resilient and survive in water at temperatures between 13 and 15°C for up to three months. On land, at temperatures below 0°C, they can exist for up to six months. These bacteria are also spread through rodent excrement, which can end up in water bodies and food and cereal stores.

The infection can enter the human body in the following ways:

  1. Insect bites: on picnics or relaxing near a pond, you may be bitten by mosquitoes, ticks, wasps and flies, which are also carriers of tularemia.
  2. Airways: dust that enters the human body during agricultural work or cleaning a room can contain bacteria of various diseases.
  3. Contact way: When performing various work procedures, such as catching rodents and hares or raking straw, it is important to always use gloves, a respirator and goggles to prevent dust particles and other substances from coming into contact with the skin and mucous membranes.
  4. Drinking water: Before drinking, water from any source, such as a well or pond, must be filtered and boiled. It is not recommended to swim in unknown bodies of water or swallow water from them.
  5. Food: Eating contaminated foods can cause bacteria to multiply in the body.

The incubation period for tularemia lasts from three days to three weeks. Symptoms include:

  • A sharp increase in temperature up to 40°C;
  • Chills;
  • Headache, pain in the lower back, eyes and neck;
  • Weakness;
  • Enlarged lymph nodes at the site of infection;
  • Sore throat, pneumonia (rare).

To prevent tularemia it is important:

  • Vaccination: especially for those working in potentially contaminated areas.
  • Avoid contact with rodents.
  • Drink only filtered and boiled water.
  • Maintain personal hygiene: Wash dishes with filtered water and avoid drinking from untested water sources.
  • Deratization of premises: carrying out measures to exterminate rodents.
  • Proper food storage: ensure proper transportation, storage and sale of food.
  • Disinfection of premises: cleaning dust using the wet method using rubber gloves and a respirator.
  • Use of repellents: substances that protect against insect bites when staying in nature (in parks, near ponds, etc.).
  • Vigilance during agricultural work: Wear protective clothing and use personal protective equipment when in contact with soil and plants.

Following these precautions will help minimize the risk of contracting tularemia.

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