As soon as the weather cools, rodents start looking for a warm and comfortable place to overwinter. Our houses are a great place to make a cozy nest and mice sneak around. They penetrate small spaces no wider than a penny. The National Pest Management Association estimates that rodents invade about 21 million homes in the United States each winter.
Rodents that carry infectious diseases
The presence of rodents on a daily basis is not without consequences for our health. Mice, rats, prairie dogs, rabbits, carry bacteria, germs and parasites harmful to humans. Rodents can spread more than 35 diseases!
These infections are transmitted through feces, urine and saliva left in food packets. Mice are able to drop up to 25, 000 droppings each year, or about 70 times a day.
These feces contaminate food and can trigger allergies and food diseases such as salmonella. Vectors such as fleas, ticks and mites that have fed on an infected rodent can also sting you and transmit diseases. The bites of mice and rats are quite rare because they are discrete and elusive animals.
At the first signs of mouse infestation, it is advisable to involve an exterminator, expert in parasitic management, to eradicate and clean the rodent-infested area.
The plague is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe in the Middle Ages. This disease that affects humans and other mammals is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.
Humans are usually infected with the plague after being bitten by a flea or after handling an animal carrying the bacteria. The last urban outbreak of rat-related plague in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-1925. Currently, human plague infections continue to appear in rural and semi-rural areas of the western United States.
Plague bacteria are most often transmitted through the bite of an infected flea. If an infected rodent dies, hungry fleas look for other sources of blood, including humans. Exposure to flea bites usually causes bubonic plague.
The bubonic plague
This infection is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, headache, chills and weakness, as well as one or more swollen, sensitive and painful lymph nodes (called bubons).
Bubons usually occur in the lymph nodes closest to where bacteria have entered the body. They contain large amounts of bacteria that multiply.
The transmission of the plague may also result from contact with contaminated liquid or tissue. For example, a hunter who skins an infected rabbit or other animal without taking proper precautions could be infected. This form of exposure most often results in bubonic or septicaemic plague.
The septicaemic plague
This infection is characterized by life-threatening septic shock with fever, chills, extreme weakness, abdominal pain and possibly bleeding. Sepsis plague may occur as the first symptom of plague or can develop from untreated bubonic plague.
The pneumonic plague
This infection develops if a person breathes droplets containing bacteria. Patients develop fever, headache, weakness and pneumonia that develops rapidly with shortness of breath, chest pain and cough.
Pneumonia can cause respiratory failure and shock. Pneumonic plague is the most severe form of the disease and the only form of plague that can spread from person to person.
In conclusion, plague is a very serious disease, but it can be treated with common antibiotics. However, without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death. The sooner a patient receives appropriate treatment for the plague, the better his chances of recovery.
Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Rabbits, hares and other rodents are particularly susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks.
Humans can be infected through several pathways, including:
- ticks and deer bites
- skin contact with infected animals
- ingestion of contaminated water
- laboratory exposure
- or inhaling contaminated dust or aerosols.
Tularemia is widespread and present in many parts of the United States. Naturally occurring infections have been reported in all states except Hawaii.
The signs and symptoms of tularemia vary depending on how bacteria enter the body. All forms are accompanied by fever, which can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Although tularemia can be life-threatening, most infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
Different forms of tularemia
The most common form of tularemia is an ulcerative-glandular disease that usually occurs after a tick bite, deer fly bite or after handling an infected animal. A skin ulcer appears where the body has entered the body and is accompanied by swelling of the lymph glands, usually under the underalheasy or groin.
Glandular tularity is similar to ulcerative-glandular tularity, but without ulcers. It is also usually caused by the bite of a tick fly, an infected deer fly or the handling of sick or dead animals.
This infection occurs when bacteria enter through the eye. This can occur when a person kills an infected animal and accidentally touches or accidentally enters certain airborne particles into their eyes. Symptoms include irritation and inflammation of the eyes and lymph glands of the ear.
It is the result of eating contaminated food or water. Patients with oro-pharyngeal tularemia may have sore throats, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis and swelling of the lymph glands in the neck.
The unmonic infection
This is the most severe form of tularemia. Symptoms include coughing, chest pain and difficulty breathing. This form results from breathing dust or aerosols containing the bacteria. It can also occur when other forms of tularemia (e.g. ulceria-glandular) are not treated and bacteria spread through the blood to the lungs.
Precautionary measures to keep rodents away from homes and to use a repellent to prevent tick and flea bites are recommended.
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