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Common Deer Mice Carrying Lyme disease and Hantavirus into your Home

November 13, 2014

In: News

The Fall Harvest and colder weather trigger a massive migration – the rather the innocuous Deer Mouse is moving into homes across Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Just in time for New Year, the Deer Mouse came to the attention of the public when it was discovered to be the primary reservoir species for Hantavirus in the West and/or Lyme disease along the Eastern seaboard. A recent study in British Columbia showed that 30% of studied Deer Mice were positive for Lyme disease, Hantavirus and even the bubonic plague.

Hantavirus attacks the lungs and causes Adult Respitory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Roughly 50% of the cases of ARDS have been fatal. ARDS is contained in mice feces and infects its victims when particles of airborne feces get lodged in the lungs. This is why when disposing of mice feces, you should never vacuum the area – use a damp cloth to pick up the feces and then clean the area with bleach.

Deer Mice also harbor Lyme disease, which is passed onto humans through bites from ticks. In fact, Deer Ticks are often misunderstood for passing the Lyme disease from Deer, when it is in fact the tiniest of “Deer Mice” whom are the culprits. The Deer Mouse is the primary winter host for the Deer tick. In the Mid 1980s, Harvard University School of Public Health identified the white-footed deer mouse as the dominant mammalian reservoir host for the Lyme disease bacteria.

Aside from being a nuisance, rodents are vectors of a vast array of diseases, such as Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. They can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

To promote public vigilance against rodents, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recognizes November 16-22 as Rodent Awareness Week. American Pest Solutions is proud to take part in this observance by educating homeowners about the threat of rodents and the possible signs of an infestation this winter.

“Rodents may be small, but they pose a number of threats to human health and property,” said Robert Russell, Board Certified Entomologist at American Pest Solutions. Deer miec are most likely to cause problems in New England at this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to be on the lookout for signs of these destructive pests in and around their property.”

Aside from being a nuisance, rodents are vectors of a vast array of diseases, such as Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. They can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

Here are a few clues that rodents may be present in a home:

  1. Droppings: A trail of rodent droppings is typically found in kitchen cabinets and pantries, along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, and in boxes, bags and old furniture.
  2. Noises: Rodents often make scurrying sounds, especially at night, as they move about and nest.
  3. Gnaw marks: New gnaw marks tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
  4. Burrows: Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they are drawn to areas that are dark and secluded.
  5. Damaged food packages: House mice prefer to feed on cereals and seeds, while Norway rats prefer meat, fish and dry dog food.

“We encourage homeowners to complete a thorough inspection of their property before the winter weather strikes. They should look for cracks or holes in the foundation, loose mortar around the basement foundation and damaged screens,” added Russell. “No crack or hole should be overlooked as mice only need an opening the size of a dime to find a way inside.”

For more information on rodents, please visit www.413pestfree.com.

About Robert Russell:

Robert Russell is a Board Certified Entomologist and President of American Pest Solutions based in Springfield, Hartford and Pittsfield. His family and company have been treating homes since 1913, and Robert has been engaged as an expert in the pest management business since 1978.
Robert Russell provides advice and insight to newspapers, radio and television stations with his deep and expert insights on pests. Contact us today for information and interviews at davegoff@goffmedia.com.

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