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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mice spread numerous diseases worldwide. The diseases are spread to humans directly: through contact with mice feces, saliva or urine, mouse bites and mere contact. Mouse diseases, however, can also be spread indirectly: ticks, fleas and mites that have fed, at some point, on the infected mouse and then transmit that infection to humans.
Hantavirus is a life-threatening disease transmitted by rodents, particularly deer mice. The virus is found in rodent urine and feces, but it does not make the host animal sick. It is believed that humans can become sick if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings. However, hantavirus is not spread from humans to humans. As of November 1, 2012, there were 10 confirmed cases of hantavirus in Yosemite National Park. Three of the confirmed cases were fatal.
The early symptoms of the disease are: chills, muscle aches and fever. Symptoms can quickly worsen: dry cough, headache, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting and general malaise. Treatments may include: breathing tube or machine, oxygen, medication (ribavin) to treat kidney-related problems and reduce the risk of death.
Salmonella is a bacteria food-borne illness. It is transmitted when mice and other rodents like rats contaminate food or working surfaces where food is prepared. Common symptoms that are developed by people who have contracted salmonella, include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that last for up to 7 days. Young children and the elderly are at higher risk to salmonella. In recent years, numerous salmonella outbreaks have been linked to rodents, especially feeder rodents (live or frozen rats and mice used to feed pets such as reptiles).
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease that causes serious neurological problems, including aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the meninges that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). It is primarily carried by the house mouse, but hamsters in contact with wild mice at pet stores can also carry the disease. Individuals become infected with LCMV after exposure to fresh urine, saliva, droppings or nesting materials.
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