Monthly Archive March 23, 2016

5 Most Common Health Risks From Pest Infestations

Pest infestations can be very annoying. They can make your house feel dirty and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, pest infestations can also cause a number of health problems in children and adults. A pest infestation could pose at least five different health hazards.

Dysentery, Salmonella and Gastroenteritis

One of the main health hazards from pests comes in the form of contaminated food. Pests like cockroaches, mice and flies all carry bacteria. They can spread bacteria to food in your home through direct contact or by delayed contact with droppings. The result could be serious illnesses like dysentery, salmonella and gastroenteritis that cause pain, dehydration and other intestinal issues.


Mice can carry a disease known as hantavirus. Hantavirus can cause serious problems in humans from respiratory issues and hemorrhagic fever to death. Humans can contract hantavirus through droppings. It is even possible to get it by breathing in the dust from the feces or urine left by the mice. This is why dealing with any rodent problem in your home is important.

Asthma and Respiratory Issues

Roaches, mice and many other insects can all lead to respiratory issues. The droppings and carcasses of cockroaches release a protein that triggers allergic reactions. This can cause severe asthma attacks. Long-term exposure can harm the lungs even if you do not have pre-existing respiratory issues. The problems will persist and grow worse as long as the infestation continues.


Rodents can spread leptospirosis to human beings. The bacterial disease can be spread when humans come into contact with rodent urine or feces. It can be spread by eating or drinking anything that has been exposed to fluids from a mouse or rat. Leptospirosis causes fever and can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, brain swelling and potentially death. Avoiding leptospirosis means keeping rodents out of the home.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is a serious health hazard when your home has been infested with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes transmit this virus when they bite. West Nile can lead to a life-threatening illness in some people. It can be fatal. You can protect against West Nile virus by treating an infested house with mosquito control products. This will stop the infestation and make your home safer.

It is important to respond to signs of pests in your home immediately. Do not wait since this provides the pests time to start reproducing and making the problem worse. You should immediately start taking steps to eliminate the pests as soon as signs of a problem appear.

TIP: Keep Pet Food Away From Mice


Dog food is something you want to feed to Fido and Fido alone. Unfortunately, hungry pest mice who infiltrate a bag of dog food can contaminate it with a variety of diseases. Sanitary feeding practices and proper storage should prevent mouse infestation of your pooch’s food.

Wild mice carry a variety of diseases and bacteria, including hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis and tularemia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These conditions spread through contact with mouse droppings, saliva or urine. Mice, who tend to urinate and defecate where they eat, may leave urine and droppings in the kibble simply by sampling or creeping through any of your dog’s food — making the food dangerous for your pooch to eat. Just one mouse contaminates up to 10 times the amount of food it eats, according to the Indiana University School of Public Environmental Affairs.

Signs of Contamination
Contamination of your pooch’s food can occur in your home but may also occur in pet supply stores or in a pet food manufacturer’s facilities. Inspect the food and its packaging for signs of mouse contamination before giving any of it to your pup. Signs of contamination include dark ricelike droppings in the food, a musky odor and small holes in the dog food bag itself. In your home, you might find a small pile of dog kibble gathered by mice in places like closets and seldom-used drawers, according to the Humane Society of the United States. If you suspect your pooch’s food is contaminated, don’t feed it to him; throw it away.

Proper Storage
Dog food, namely dry dog kibble, attracts mice because the little guys can smell it and can access it by chewing through its packaging. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, according to the Indiana Vector Control Association. Discourage mice and protect your pup’s food by transferring it to an airtight plastic, glass or metal pet food container that mice can’t access or gnaw through. Don’t leave dog food sitting around. Remove your pooch’s food dish 15 minutes after setting it down, storing dry food leftovers in an air-tight container and canned food in the refrigerator.

Discouraging Mice
Wash your pup’s bowl after every meal and wipe down his eating area to remove stray particles of food. Seal up holes around your home that mice can use as entryways with caulk, metal or steel wool, the CDC recommends. Feed your pup only inside your home, not outside or in the garage where rodents can get wind of it. Never leave his food out overnight; this is when mice are most active. Mice are also attracted to feces, so remember to pick up after Fido when outdoors.