Ever heard of the term, “death by mouse?”. Apparently, people are not only getting sick because of mouse infestation in their houses, some have even succumbed to dying. In 2015, a 26-year old woman was admitted in a Western Canadian hospital due to dry cough and difficult of breathing. This girl, without any past medical problems, was pronounced dead after 24 hours. The reason? Hantavirus. The woman just inhaled it, a virulent pathogen, while cleaning a garage littered with deer-mouse droppings.
Hantavirus is one of the most deadly diseases that are transmitted by mice. Federal scientists in the country have recorded an increasing number of hantavirus-induced death rate in humans. Active surveillance for the virus only started recently, in 1994. And as of December 2014, a total of 109 cases were confirmed to be caused by the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Since then, an average of 4-5 cases show recorded every year. Sadly, there is still no proven antiviral therapy or vaccines available to treat a person that is infected with hantavirus.
But this is not the only disease that is caused by a mouse. Different scientific records also shows that the following illnesses are caused by mice: Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, Rat-bite Fever, Salmonellosis, Tularemia, and others. In fact, a single mouse can carry at least 25 different diseases in its small body. And all of these diseases are dangerous, potentially leading to death. Thus, having mice in your houses is not just a simple household problem. It a serious health risk.
But how do mice get so dirty? As these mice make their way through your houses, they are constantly defecating and urinating. This is due to their habit of eating and chewing things most times of the day. Now, if they run across your plates or your pillows, even through your clothes or tabletops, they will contaminate everything with their virus, spreading bacteria and viruses that can make you sick, or worst, dead. Also, mice are always in constant search for food and water. This enables them to go to some of the most dirtiest environments. Because they are always eating, they leave can behind about a thousand droppings in a week, and these droppings are potential sources of diseases. Lastly, mice constantly carry ringworms, tapeworms, mites, and fleas. They are are also infected with deer tick, which can be transferred to a human through Lyme Disease.
Did you know that the famous “Bubonic Plague” or “Black Death”, which caused the death of millions of people in Eurasia, was caused by mice
Blackwell, T. (2015). Death by mouse: Hantavirus cases still rare but mounting, researchers warn. In National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/death-by-mouse-hantavirus-cases-still-rare-but-mounting-researchers-warn
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Directly transmitted by rodents. In Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/direct.html
Government of Canada. (n.d.) Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Canada. In Government of Canada Website. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/reports-publications/canada-communicable-disease-report-ccdr/monthly-issue/2015-41/ccdr-volume-41-06-june-4-2015/ccdr-volume-41-06-june-4-2015-1.html