Whenever rodent-borne diseases are mentioned within daily conversation, there are perhaps a few that likely come to mind first: Plague, Hantavirus, salmonellosis, and rat-bite fever being high up on this list.

 

Nevertheless, there is a further rodent-borne viral disease which is infectious to people and thus we should all be aware of it, even more so as we make our way through the winter season. The name of it is Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, otherwise known as LCM.

 

headacheLCM is caused by the Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus, referred to as LCMV. LCMV is easily transmitted to humans following on from exposure to rodent droppings, urine, saliva, and/ or handling nesting materials that have been infected by the common house mice. There?s also a risk of exposure to the virus which arises from a bite from a house mouse that is infected.

 

It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that some five percent of house mice around the nation carry LCMV and are thus fully capable of transmitting the virus. Infections become more commonplace throughout the colder months whenever mice seek shelter from the adverse elements by entering homes.

 

Symptoms and Treatment of the Virus

An infection from LCMV will most frequently entail two variable phases. The first of which comes with non-specific, flu-like symptoms ? lack of appetite, aching muscles, fever, malaise, nausea, vomiting, and headaches are typical.

 

The second phase of LCMV sees neurologic disease as the dominant factor. In accordance with the claims of the CDC, symptoms can include:

  • Encephalitis (confusion, drowsiness, motor abnormalities, and/ or general sensory disturbance.)
  • Meningitis (headaches, fever, stiff neck, et cetera.)
  • Meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the meninges and the brain.)

 

As a general rule, cases are self-limiting, though hospitalization may be a requirement based on level of severity. This said, though, infection is that much of a greater problem for women if they are infected with LCMV during the months of pregnancy as the infection can then be passed to the fetus which inevitably leads to ever more serious consequences.

 

Preventing LCMV

The LCMV virus can be prevented through the avoidance of any contact with mice, their urine, their excrement, and their nesting materials. As would be expected, homeowners must seal up any small cracks and gaps in the exterior of their properties, and they can effectively do so using a silicone-based caulk, some steel wool, or indeed, a combination of the two.

 

Further, when handling pet rodents (mice, guinea pigs, hamsters), precautions ought to be taken as pets can also catch the virus, again, from an infected house mouse.

 

Taking Measure to Prevent a Rodent Infestation in the Home

 

Fortuitously, there are plenty of ways that homeowners can take a proactive stance in the prevention from and getting rid of rodent infestations in general within their homes:

  • Repair damaged screening and install door sweeps on all exterior doors.
  • Screen over chimney openings and vents.
  • Dispose of garbage frequently and store food, as much as possible, in airtight containers.
  • Seal holes and cracks in the home?s exterior. This includes areas where pipes and utilities enter the home. Use steel wool, silicone-based caulk, or a combination of them both.
  • Aim to eliminate places of moisture buildup such as clogged drains and leaking pipes. These provide an ideal breeding site for all sorts of pests due to the source of running water.
  • Firewood stores should be maintained at least 20 feet from the house. Ideally, the supplies should be kept off the ground and covered over.
  • Maintain the shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the exterior of the home as this potentially acts as a pathway for rodents.
  • If there is reason to suspect a rodent infestation in your home, and you sense it?s a sizable infestation, get in touch with a licensed professional who will inspect and then eradicate the problem.
  • If you do spot any evidence of rodent infestation, act fast to deal with the problem. After all, rodents reproduce rapidly, and what is originally a small issue can change into something far larger in a relatively short time span if no action is taken.
  • Replace any loose weather stripping and loose mortar around the windows and basement foundations.
  • Ensure that your basement, attic, and any crawl spaces are well ventilated and kept dry.