Rodents in Crawl Spaces: The Dangers of Rodent Feces in Human Spaces

Mice and other rodents can turn up just about anywhere: in your garage, in your basement, and even in your crawl spaces. They can carry harmful bacteria, viruses, and diseases that can not only make you and your family sick, but even cause lifelong issues or even death. As such, it is important to contain rodent infestations in your crawl spaces and ducts promptly.

Why Do Rodents Choose Crawlspaces?

Just like any other warm-blooded animal, rodents need to escape from the cold and the rain. As such, they often find a way into your home – or into your crawlspace – through tiny cracks or holes. If they find the space comfortable, it won’t take long for one or two rodents to turn into a full-blown infestation, complete with multiple nests and rodents trying to find their way into your ducts or even your living space. This infestation can present some very serious risks to your health, so removing these rodents is very important.

Hantavirus

The most commonly-known disease that is spread by rodents is hantavirus. You can contract this serious and potentially life-threatening disease by simply breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent droppings or urine, being in contact with rodents and their excrement, or through bite wounds, although this is rare. The symptoms present much like the flu, but without prompt and proper medical attention, the pulmonary side effects can cause pneumonia and death.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is another disease spread by rodents, and this one can affect people and pets alike. In people, the symptoms of leptospirosis are easily misdiagnosed, and without the proper treatment (which is often a course of specific antibiotics), it can lead to liver failure, respiratory distress, kidney damage, meningitis, and ultimately death. Rodent urine and droppings soak into soil and groundwater, and coming into contact with these materials can lead to infection with leptospirosis.

Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis

Lymphocytic chorio-meningitis is a viral infectious disease carried and spread by rodents. It affects people worldwide, and it is carried primarily by the common house mouse. Experts estimate that 5% of all house mice carry the disease, and humans contract it with exposure to fresh urine, droppings, saliva, and nesting materials. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms at first; these later develop into meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis.

Plague

Although you don’t often hear of people contracting plague these days, it can and does occur – especially in parts of Africa, Asia, South America, and even in the Western US. Plague is spread by the bites of infect fleas or through direct contact with an infected animal, and many different types of rodents can carry it, including ground squirrels, chipmunks, wood rats, prairie dogs, and others. There are three different types of plague, including bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic; all of these can be transmitted by rodents.

As you can see, a rodent infestation in a crawlspace is a hazard to your health – and in some cases, the health of your pets, too. It is important to contact a professional if you suspect a rodent infestation in your crawlspace or ducts to avoid the illnesses listed above. We can be contacted at: http://www.nwalpinecrawl.com/

 

 

The Dangers of Residual Animal Urine in Carpets

 

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If you have ever had a puppy, then you understand that housebreaking can certainly take some time and work. Unfortunately, animals can and will have accidents on floors from time to time, but it is essential that you clean the urine from your carpets immediately in order to avoid some potentially serious effects on your health. Below, you can discover some of the potential damage that animal urine in carpets can cause.

#1 – The Ammonia Odor

The most noticeable effect of animal urine in carpets is the strong smell of ammonia. Although all urine contains some amount of ammonia, it is especially concentrated in cat urine. What’s more, once a pet urinates on the carpet, if it is not cleaned thoroughly – and immediately – the water in the urine evaporates, leaving behind even more concentrated ammonia. This can have a tremendous negative effect on people who have COPD, asthma, or emphysema, and it may even cause allergies.

#2 – The Growth of Bacteria and Other Microorganisms

Most of the bacteria that grows in old pet stains is not particularly dangerous to anyone who has a healthy immune system, but it can become quite bothersome. In otherwise healthy people, the bacteria and microorganisms found in old urine stains may cause sinusitis, watery eyes, allergies, and inflammation of the airways. However, in people who have compromised immune systems, such as very young children, the elderly, or people with immune systems weakened by illness or medication, these bacteria can cause significant health issues.

#3 – The Potential for Dangerous Mold

Although one or two accidents that are cleaned up quickly and efficiently are often not a reason for concern, repeated pet stains or urine that is not immediately and thoroughly cleaned can soak through your carpet into the padding below. The components of the urine attract moisture, and over time, several varieties of mold can begin to grow underneath your carpet. Some of these mold varieties, like penicillium, can cause respiratory symptoms, and a few, such as aspergillus, can cause long-term lung conditions with prolonged exposure.

#4 – The Expense of Replacing a Rotting Subfloor

Finally, it is important to consider the financial expense that animal urine can create. Your carpet padding likely sits directly on your subfloor, which is generally made of wood. Over time, the urine soaks through your carpet and the padding below, and into the subfloor. With repeated pet accidents, the wood becomes more and more saturated and may even begin to rot. As such, it may be necessary to completely remove your carpeting and replace sections of your subfloor in order to combat structural damage to your floors.

Although pets are an important part of millions of lives, cleaning up after them is a responsibility that should never be neglected. Over time, animal urine can cause allergy-like symptoms, strong odors, mold growth, and even structural damage to your home. Aside from immediately cleaning up after your pet, it is important to contact www.nwalpineclean.com at least twice per year to not only clean your carpets, but also evaluate your risks.