In almost every home, at one time or the other, there has been an infestation with mice, made apparent by the mouse droppings you find at particular corners, especially after their nesting season. While mice can be difficult to deal with, their presence and destruction of household materials do not compare with the diseases they carry and can spread throughout the homes in the neighborhood.
Mouse droppings are similar to other rat droppings and they can sometimes be confused for cockroach droppings. However, you can recognize them by their size and color. They are usually less than an inch in size, resembling raise grains, but black. You will mostly find them in corners and crevices and the more there are the more the number of mice you have in your home. Mouse droppings can be carriers of diseases such as Lassa fever and salmonellosis, among others.
In this article, you will get to know how to identify mouse droppings, the safe way to clean and dispose of them, and the best way to rid your home of mouse droppings. Also, you will understand the need to always remove mouse droppings and free your home of mice, when you read about the diseases your home is exposed to from their presence.
How to Identify Mouse Droppings
Mouse droppings are normal findings in homes that are infested with mice. The more the mice, the easier it is to find the droppings. Ordinarily, it is annoying to hear the scratching sound of their feet on your ceiling or in kitchen cabinets but you can confirm their presence by their droppings.
Mouse droppings bear resemblance to other rats’ droppings but the major difference is in the size. While bigger rats have bigger droppings, although with similar shape to mice’s, a mouse’s droppings are grain-like and they are usually between an eighth to a quarter of an inch in size. In rare cases you may find mouse droppings that can be up to half an inch. Generally, to recognize mouse droppings, picture grains of rice, only imagine them to be black.
You’ll readily find mouse droppings in 50s and above, and they will usually be in places where food is stored or prepared, that is, in the kitchen cabinets and the pantry. Also, you can find them in crawl spaces, the attic, utility closets, air vents, holes in the walls, and bathroom closets and cabinets.
Diseases that Mouse Droppings can Spread in your Home
Many rodents, including mice, are agents of disease spread. They mostly spread diseases from themselves to humans when they come in contact with humans or their food and other things they use around the house. Mice can chew on an individual’s toothbrush, transferring pathogens from its saliva to the brush. The individual may use the brush the following morning, introducing pathogen into their system.
Some of the diseases that mice spread include:
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, HPS, is a respiratory condition that develops in humans that have come in contact with rodents, their urine, droppings, or saliva that carries the hantavirus. The infection can sometimes be passed from person to person and usually takes 1 to 8 weeks to develop.
After its incubation period, the initial symptoms are pain aches in the large muscle groups such as back, thighs, hips, and shoulders. In some cases, they are accompanied by chills, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and vomiting. In the later stages of the infection, usually 10 days after initial symptoms, shortness of breath and coughing begins and as time goes by, the lungs fill with fluid.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a fatal condition that has about 38% mortality rate in the United States of America, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
This is a disease that has been common in West Africa for some time now. It is caused by the Lassa Virus and it is spread through rats. Individuals that come in contact with infected rats, their droppings and urine, eat food that has been contaminated with their urine or droppings, breath in dust that is contaminated with mouse droppings or urine, is liable to contact this disease. It can also be transmitted from person to person.
In most cases this disease has no symptom. However, when it does, it is characterized by bleeding in the gums, nose, and eyes. Infected individual may begin to cough, have difficulty breathing, vomit and diarrhea with blood, develop hepatitis, among others.
It is a fatal disease that leads to about 20% of death among hospitalized patients.
Salmonellosis is a common infection, caused the bacteria, Salmonella, around the world. It is characterized by fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, starting from about 12 hours to two weeks of exposure to the bacteria. Although the body usually resolves the infection in about 7 days, it can be a very serious infection.
Humans get infected when they consume foods that have been contaminated with mouse droppings. They can also get it from touching animals, such as reptiles and baby chicks or ducklings and using those hands to eat, without washing them.
This is a bacterial infection that affects both humans and animals. It is a serious disease that can cause kidney damage, liver failure, respiratory issues, meningitis, and death, if left untreated. It bears symptoms similar to many other diseases, making its diagnosis tricky. In some cases, it bears no symptom.
Humans contract this disease when they eat food or drink water that has been contaminated with an infected animal; in this case, mice. The contamination may be through urine of mouse droppings; it may also be through food or drink contact with the skin or mucous membrane of the infected mice.
How to Prevent These Diseases in Your Home
These diseases are serious and can lead to death. However, they can be prevented by limiting or eliminating contact between yourself and mice. You can start by ridding your home of mouse droppings that are around and keeping your food and water properly stored, away from the reach of mice and other rodents. Follow these steps to ensure your home is safe from these diseases.
- Block all holes and entryway for mice in your home.
- Transfer all foods into hard plastics where mice cannot reach them.
- Clean every corner and place you may have noticed mouse droppings and urine.
- Remove woods and unused furniture from your home and its surroundings.
- If the infestation is too much, call in professional exterminators.
While the first four steps seem easy, you will need to be careful when cleaning mouse droppings and urine as they can cause diseases on their own, if you inhale them. Safely clean mouse droppings and urine following these steps:
- Protect yourself by wearing latex gloves and using a nose mask
- Mix bleach and water at a ratio of 1 to 10, or simply dump some disinfectant in water. Spray the urine and droppings and let it soak for about 5 minutes.
- Pack the droppings and urine from using a paper towel or disposable cloth and put them in a garbage bag.
- Disinfect the items that are in the vicinity of the urine and droppings you have just cleaned.
- Disinfect the whole area.
Mouse droppings are not a good sight, they show how much mice infestation you have in your home. They also pose some health risks as they can spread some deadly diseases in your home. Rid your home of mouse droppings and mice, and live a less health-risky life.