It is difficult to stay healthy during the winter months, especially with the rise of common colds and the flu during this season. Unfortunately, something most people don’t realize during this period is the health risks and dangers posed by rodents. An infestation of rodents can cause a lot of problems for homeowners… not just to your health but to the property as well. An estimated 21 million homes are plagued by a rodent infestation every winter in the U.S.

During winter, rodents such as mice and rats typically are in search of warmth, shelter, and food, generally seeing homes as a good source for all, entering your homes via cracks or openings.

Once these rodents gain access into your property they can cause serious damage and even spread diseases to the members of your home.


Mice and rats are able to contaminate food sources and spread bacteria around by the build-up of their feces. Once the fecal matter becomes dry, it proves to be hazardous to those who breathe it in. Moreover, droppings can spread diseases and viruses, like the ones listed below.

Hantavirus

Humans can contract this disease through exposure or inhaling infected rodent urine, droppings or saliva, and the chances only increase when people in proximity to where rodents are actively living. Some strains of this virus can cause fatal diseases like hantavirus pulmonary syndrome which symptoms can be similar to the flu such as fevers, headaches, muscle pain and being short of breath.


Bubonic Plague

Believed to be the cause of the black plague that wiped 50 million people out in the 14th century the Plague is a highly contagious and often deadly disease that is normally spread by a bite from an infected flea. It affects your lymph nodes causing them to become inflamed and uncomfortable even becoming open sores filled with pus in the advanced stages, it also can spread to the lungs. Symptoms include getting the chills, high fever, muscle cramping, and seizures.


Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning spread mostly by contaminated food, and rodents feces. Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain fevers and vomiting. There are around 40,000 cases of Salmonella each year according to WebMD.

Rat-Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever (RBF) can be a fatal infectious disease. It’s spread by coming into contact with infected rodents or eating food contaminated by rodents. Symptoms usually occur 3-10 days after being exposed to an infected source. They can be delayed for up to 3 weeks, and symptoms can include fever, vomiting, headaches, rash and muscle pain.

Other than health risks, rodents can pose a significant threat to your property. They have a tendency to destroy insulation. They can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring. 25% of house fires are caused by rodents every year in the U.S.
Being able to reproduce quickly, rodents can go from being a small gathering to causing a massive infestation. Prevention should be one of the first lines of defense for homeowners against these pests. Take the necessary steps to keep them out of your property.

Homeowners should always be aware of signs for rodents. These include scampering sounds in ceilings, and droppings found in undisturbed places or partially eaten food. If you think an infestation is suspected, a pest professional can offer the expertise and knowledge to treat the problem.