Deer mice are a common rodent in the United States, and Pennsylvania is no exception. Typically, they are primarily brown, and have a white feet and underbelly. These mice have a round body and are seen scurrying on all four feet. Deer mice average 5-8 inches in length and average about .72 of an ounce. Their diet mostly consists of nuts, berries, seeds, insects, and small fruit and they typically emerge from their hiding places at dusk and dawn to feed. While living in the outdoors, deer mice will find harborage in piles of debris, old fence posts, and tree logs. During the late fall, as temperatures begin to drop, deer mice will look for warmer accommodations to escape the bitter winter conditions; often being houses, garages, sheds or rarely used vehicles. Indoors they are drawn basements or attics and will build their nests stuffed furniture, storage boxes, drawers and wall voids. We at Stewart Termite & Pest Control would like to further elaborate on deer mice due to the potentially fatal Hantavirus spread from these mice, via contact with infected mouse carcasses or breathing in aerosolized urine droplets from the infected mouse. We feel people should be more vigilant when it comes to their pest control due to Hantavirus that is increasingly infecting people.
There have been a reported 728 cases of hantavirus infection in 36 states reported as of January of 2017, and 36% of these reported cases were fatal according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been hantavirus cases reported in our state of Pennsylvania. The Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or HPS evolved, caused by hantavirus infection and is still considered a rare, fatal respiratory disease. Fatigue, fever, and muscle aches typically in the back, thigh, hips, and sometimes shoulder are a few of the early symptoms. About half of the patients with HPS experience dizziness, headaches, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain according to the ADC. Fluid fills the lungs, causing coughing and shortness of breaths as the virus turns deadly.
Which Mice Species Carry Hantavirus?
The primary risk, confirmed by the CDC, of exposure is a rodent infestation in or around the house. In the United States, deer mice are not the only carriers of the hantavirus; other rodents including the cotton rat, which is found in the southeastern United States, including most of Kansas and western Missouri; as well as the white-footed mouse, found in all but the western-most states.
The rodents that are known for spreading other diseases, viruses, bacteria and germs, are broadening the health risk as the growing cases of the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or HPS continue to increase. Not only are deer mice a serious health risk, but these rodents are notorious for damaging a building’s structure, electrical wiring and even plumbing as well as destroying possessions in an effort to forage for food, water, and nesting materials.
If you suspect deer mice or any other rodents and pests in or around your property, call Stewart Termite & Pest Control.