The recent news that three people have died, several others have taken ill, and tens of thousands are at risk after being exposed to Hantavirus following camping trips at Yosemite National Park this summer serves as a stark reminder to the dangers pests can present.
Hantavirus is a rare air-borne virus transmitted by deer mice. It occurs when the infected mice shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva, and people breathe in air contaminated with the virus. Infection with Hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which can be fatal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Due to the small number of HPS cases, the incubation time is not positively known. However, on the basis of limited information, it appears that symptoms may develop between one and five weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.”
Symptoms include fatigue, fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and abdominal pain. It is a rapidly progressing disease (four to 10 days after initial symptoms) and symptoms will expand to include coughing, shortness of breath, and severe difficulty breathing. Based on CDC findings, it is fatal 38% of the time.
Hantavirus can only be transmitted from rodent to human, not one person to another; if you suspect you were exposed to the virus, see your doctor immediately. Do not delay.
Exposure to Hantavirus is more common in rural areas (such as Yosemite) where the geographical environment – forested areas, fields and farms – is most friendly to deer mice. The house mouse typically found in urban settings is not a carrier of Hantavirus but don’t think these city dwellers are any friendlier.
Rodents such as the house mouse, Norway rat and roof rat are first-class vectors for disease and destruction. Since rodents are frequent visitors of sewers and other filthy, nasty areas where dangerous bacteria are present they are ideal transporters of bacteria such as salmonella.
These filthy pests can easily spoil prepared and stored food by eating, chewing or coming in contact with it. They are not picky about what they eat and can quickly turn your next feast into their next feast without even asking.
Another disease traced to rodents is rickettsial pox. The disease is transmitted by mites who live on infested mice and it produces chicken pox-like symptoms including rash, fever, and headache.
Noted rodent researcher Dr. Bobby Corrigan found that rodents can be the carrier and delivery vehicle for up to 55 different diseases. Needless to say, rodents are not something you want your family and friends, customers or employees exposed to.
The harmful effects of rodents extend beyond contaminating and spoiling food, they can also take a chunk out or your home or business – literally. Rats and mice can chew openings on wood siding, door and window frames, and roofs to gain entrance to a structure.
They also chew and gnaw on phone, computer and electrical wires, and thereby are capable of starting fires. The National Pest Management Association notes that about 40% of home fires of unknown origin are attributed to rodents chewing through electrical wire insulation. Rodent control in and around structures remains the primary strategy for preventing disease or damage caused by rodents.
The health threats posed by rodents and other pests including cockroaches, birds, mosquitoes, stinging insects and ants are very real and should be taken seriously. Western Exterminator’s team of highly-trained Service Technicians and entomologists combine years of in-the-field experience with the latest products and service techniques to effectively eliminate harmful pests.
Western Exterminator does not want to unnecessarily alarm our customers about pests; our goal is to be your go-to source for pest information and to protect your home or business from pests who can do you, your family or coworkers harm.
Do you have questions about potentially harmful pests? If so, I want to hear from you. You can send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.
Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®.”
Have a pest free day.