What are the ways you can catch a disease from a mouse?

Written by sean kotz
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What are the ways you can catch a disease from a mouse?
Mice may look cute, but they sometimes can transmit diseases to humans. (mouse image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

A number of diseases can be transmitted to humans by mice and other rodents, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, Plague, Salmonellosis, Rat-bite Fever and Tularemia are all potentially carried by mice and can infect exposed humans. These diseases can be painful and dangerous, even deadly, if not treated. Humans may contract diseases from mice and other rodents in a variety of ways.

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Direct Contact with Feces and Urine

Mouse faeces or urine can carry viruses and bacteria. Therefore, direct physical contact with mouse waste, especially through open wounds or mucous membranes, can transmit diseases to humans. Ingestion of food or water contaminated by mouse droppings and urine can cause illness as well. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Tularemia, Salmonellosis, Leptospirosis and Rat-bite Fever are among the diseases that can be picked up in this way.

Indirect Contact with Feces or Urine

A common way to contract viruses from mice is from breathing in dust that has been contaminated with mouse faeces or urine. The contaminated particles are drawn into the respiratory system where viruses can strike. Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, Tularemia and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome are among diseases that can be contracted in this way.

Bites and Scratches

Mice can carry disease bacteria and viruses on their teeth, saliva and claws. While it's uncommon, scratches and bites from mice potentially can transmit some diseases. Rat-bite Fever, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis are among diseases that can be contracted in this way.

Insect Bites

Fleas, ticks and deerflies will all feed on mice if given the opportunity and can become carriers for disease. They can then bite humans and transmit viruses and bacteria that can cause illness in people. Plague, for example, is a dangerous disease infamously transmitted by rodents in this way, as is Tularemia.

Contact with Carcasses

Some diseases linger in the tissue after an animal has died. Handling a mouse carcase or any carcase without proper protection can transmit diseases. Tularaemia and Plague can be contracted from mice and other rodents in this way.

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