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What diseases can I get from mice?

Mice can carry several parasites at the same time and they play a significant role in the transmission of many disease-causing pathogens to humans. In fact, rodents are likely responsible for more deaths than all the wars over the last 1,000 years - how about that for a statistic? Yikes!


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What diseases do mice carry?

With a statistic that intense, mice and rats must carry a lot of diseases. Humans can end up with one of these diseases by:

  • Inhaling or coming in direct contact with rodent excreta (urine, feces, saliva)
  • Handling or coming in close contact with infected rodents
  • Getting bitten or scratched by a rodent
  • Consuming water or food contaminated by rodent droppings or urine

Below we break down some of the most common diseases from mice, their symptoms, and how you can protect yourself from them.


Hantavirus is a rare airborne virus transmitted by deer mice. It occurs when people breathe in air contaminated with the virus. Hantavirus transmission only occurs from rodent to human, not from one person to another. If you suspect virus exposure, you should see your doctor immediately.  Infection with hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which can be fatal.

Symptoms of hantavirus include fatigue, fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and abdominal pain. It is a rapidly progressing disease (4-10 days after initial symptoms), and symptoms will expand to include coughing, shortness of breath, and severe difficulty breathing. 

Hantavirus test

Exposure to Hantavirus is more common in rural areas 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 that doesn't mean these city dwellers are any friendlier.


Since mice and rats are frequent visitors of sewers and other filthy areas where dangerous bacteria are present they are ideal transporters of bacteria such as salmonella. Salmonella is naturally found in mice and is eliminated through their feces. As a mouse runs through your home and across your kitchen counters, it will leave droppings contaminating the surface, which can lead to food poisoning. 

Mice on kitchen counter

Symptoms of salmonella start to appear after 12 to 72 hours of infection and include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Salmonella is easily transmitted to other people through poor hand hygiene and poor sanitation.


Another disease traced to mice is rickettsialpox. Rickettsia are a specialized type of bacteria that are parasitic of cells within vertebrates and arthropods. Rickettsialpox is transmitted by mites, ticks, fleas, or lice that live on infected mice. This disease produces chicken pox-like symptoms including rash, fever, and headache.


A large number of arthropods and mammals, like mice, can carry Tularemia. Tularemia is caused by the bacteria, Francisella tularensis, which has several strains that vary in virulence and geographical range. It is a disease that can affect both humans and animals. People typically become infected from a bite or from handling an infected mouse. Tularemia cannot be transmitted from human to human. 


Symptoms of tularemia are flu-like, including fever, headache, and nausea. Additional signs include swollen lymph nodes, pneumonia, and a rash. Though it is a rare disease, it can affect various organ systems in the human body such as the central nervous system, heart, and liver.

Mice and allergies

In addition to the diseases listed above, a protein found within a mouse’s urine can trigger asthma and closely related allergic conditions in susceptible people. Mice typically urinate in micro-droplets wherever they are nesting. Since they eat and travel throughout the day, mouse urine can literally be found on all surfaces of your home. The residue from their urine can cause asthma attacks since it can easily spread all over a home, with the highest concentrations usually in kitchens.


Protect yourself from mice!

The health threats posed by mice and other pests including rats, cockroaches, birds, mosquitoes, stinging insects, and ants are very real and should be taken seriously. It’s important to get rid of mice fast before you end up with an infestation. You can protect yourself by practicing clean hygiene, eliminating rodent entry points, cutting back overgrown shrubbery, and cleaning up your kitchen after a meal.

Our team of highly-trained specialists and entomologists with years of in-the-field experience using the latest products and service techniques effectively eliminates harmful pests from your property. Your Western specialist will protect your home or business from pests that can do you, your family, or coworkers harm. Contact us today.

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