Mice and Disease

By Chris Williams on October 24, 2017.

One thing that for me re-enforces the importance of pest control is the role we in the industry play in protecting public health.  Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is another rodent borne viral disease that was first discovered a little over 80 years ago.

The primary host is the house mouse, (Mus musculus) with about 5 percent of the natural population being reservoir host for the virus. Other rodents such as hamsters can also act as reservoirs for LCMV.  The house mouse is responsible for most of the transmission of LCMV to humans although infections from pet rodents has been reported also.

LCMV infections can happen after exposure to urine, droppings, nesting materials, introduced through contact with broken skin, eyes, the nose and by inhalation. It has never been documented to be spread by person to person contact, but can be transmitted from an infected mother to her unborn fetus and be passed on to persons through organ transplantation (unfortunately in the latter instance with deadly consequences)

For infected persons who do become ill, typical flu-like symptoms like fever, malaise, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting etc. are the most commonly reported. In severe cases, more dangerous symptoms may develop like meningitis (fever, stiff neck, headache) encephalitis (drowsiness, confusion, sensory disturbances, paralysis) or worse yet meningoencephalitis which is inflammation of the both the brain and the meninges. These more severe cases may also cause increased fluid on the brain and often require surgical intervention to relieve pressure.  Fortunately, most people who develop these more severe symptoms do survive, though they may not escape without some form of temporary or permanent neurological impairment. (deafness and arthritis have been recorded).

Probably the worst consequences of an infection with LCMV occur in pregnant women where the virus can be passed to the developing fetus. Infections occurring during the first trimester may cause miscarriage, while severe birth defects such as blindness or mental retardation) may occur in the later trimesters.  The threats to health posed by LCMV are yet another reason not to share your home with mice.  Contact the pros at Colonial Pest Control.

Photo Credit : By Foster ES, Signs KA, Marks DR, Kapoor H, Casey M, Stobierski MG, et al. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis in Michigan. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2006 May [date cited]. Available from, Public Domain, Link



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