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Why Rat & Mouse Infestations Are a Health Hazard

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When it comes to pest infestations, rodents present one of the most significant threats to health and hygiene. Although they may seem small and relatively harmless, rodents can trigger asthma and allergies, transmit diseases, and bring new pests and parasites to your home.

Here’s what you need to know.

Rodents Can Aggravate Asthma and Allergies

Just as people can be allergic to cats and dogs, people can also be allergic to rats and mice. Rodent urine, feces, dander, and saliva can trigger a reaction in those with allergies and asthma. In fact, it’s fairly commonplace for laboratory animal workers to have an "occupational allergy to rodents," according to a report published in the Journal of Occupational Health.

Not only are allergies to rodents common, but rodent allergens can be found in more homes than you might imagine. According to a survey of 800 urban and non-urban homes across the U.S., over 80% had mouse allergens.

Rodents Can Transmit Diseases Directly and Indirectly

When most people think of diseases transmitted from animals, they mistakenly think that the disease can only be spread through direct contact, such as a bite or scratch. While rats and mice can spread diseases to people and other animals that way, the bigger health hazard is the way that these rodents spread disease indirectly.

Infected rodents can transmit diseases by contaminating things that we inhale or ingest, such as food, water, or dust (in the case of hantavirus). For instance, leptospirosis is a disease that can be spread through an infected rodent’s urine. There are a few things that are particularly alarming about this:

  • Rats and mice dribble out urine almost constantly.
  • Rats in particular will mark objects in a new place with their urine to make them smell more familiar and safe. They’ll even “piddle” on or next to food to distinguish it as A-okay to eat. If a rat has chosen your food to eat, then they may have urinated on it.

Rodents’ “bathroom behavior” is already disgusting, but when there’s the additional risk of disease, you can have a severe health hazard on your hands.

Rodents Can Introduce New Pests and Parasites to Your Property

Rodents frequently bring “plus ones” to the party in the form of fleas and ticks. Aside from painful bites, these two pests can also transmit diseases. Ticks can spread illnesses such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fleas can transmit flea-borne (murine) typhus, plague, and cat-scratch disease and can also spread tapeworms if swallowed.

Don’t wait to take control of your home’s rodent problem. Contact Sage Pest Control today to schedule your appointment with our pest experts: (704) 413-3398.

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