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.
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 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 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.
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/