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Rabbits, rodents and pocket animals

Wild rodents (chipmunks, squirrels, mice, rats, and muskrats) and rabbits can be found throughout Ohio and are well adapted to live in urban, suburban, and rural environments. In addition, many types of rodents became popular “pocket” pets (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs) along with domestic rabbits and hedgehogs.

These animals can harbor diseases that can make people sick. Wild rodents also serve as a reservoir for many vector-borne diseases (diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes) such as Babesiosis, La Crois virus disease, Lyme disease, Poisson virus, and a number of rickettsial diseases including Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

What diseases associated with rabbits, ferrets, and hedgehogs are of concern in Ohio?

Animal bites: rabbits, rodents and pocket animals

Although not considered a high risk of transmitting rabies, bites from domestic rabbits, rodents, and pocket pets can become infected.

If you have been bitten by a rabbit, rodent, or pocket pet, consult your healthcare provider regarding the need for antimicrobial treatment and report the bite to your local health department.

dermatophytosis (ringworm)

dermatophytosisRingworm, also known as ringworm, is caused by several types of fungi. Trichomoniasis They are the most important species found in rodents and rabbits.

T It causes white, scaly lesions around the head of rats and rabbits, although some animals may be a discreet carrier without signs of disease.

People can become infected with dermatophytes after coming into contact with infected rodents or rabbits. The disease in humans begins as a small bump on the skin, the hair becomes brittle, and the lesion spreads peripherally, leaving scaly bald patches. Treatment is with topical antifungals.

leptospirosis

leptospirosis caused by Leptospira interrogans bacteria. It can infect humans and a wide variety of domestic and wild animals, including rodents.

leptospira shed in the urine of infected animals. Transmission usually occurs through exposure to water or contaminated soil leptospira Although transmission can also occur through direct contact with the urine of an animal that excretes the bacteria.

Lymphocytic chorioretinitis virus

guinea pigLymphocytic chorioretinitis virus (LCMV) is naturally occurring and has been found in wild rat populations. The prevalence in wild mice in the United States is about 5 percent.

Pet rodents, especially mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs, can become infected when they come into contact with infected wild rodents. This is known to occur in establishments that breed or distribute ferrets for sale to the public as pets.

In 2005, the Zoonoses Disease Program in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Agriculture participated in the investigation of an outbreak of choriolymphatic chorioretinitis virus associated with a rodent distribution facility in Ohio.

Symptoms of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus in people can range from mild flu-like symptoms to acute meningitis. Pregnant women are at greater risk of contracting the lymphocytic chorioretinitis virus, which can cause miscarriage or birth defects in the fetus.

monkeypox

prairie dogmonkeypox It is a rare viral disease associated with smallpox that occurs mostly in central and western Africa. It can cause disease in humans, monkeys, rodents, and non-human rabbits. Wild rodents found in central and western Africa are the primary reservoir for monkeypox.

In 2003, an outbreak of monkeypox was reported among several people in the United States. Most of these people became ill after coming into contact with pet prairie dogs that were sick with monkeypox. Prairie dogs were housed with Gambian implanted rats from Africa. Rats carried monkeypox and infected prairie dogs. This was the first outbreak of monkeypox in the United States.

People can get monkeypox from an animal with monkeypox if they are bitten or if they come into contact with the animal’s blood, body fluids, or rashes. The disease can also spread from person to person through large respiratory droplets during prolonged periods of face-to-face contact or by touching a sick person’s body fluids or objects such as bedding or clothing contaminated with the virus. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox.

rat fever

Mouserat fever It is a bacterial disease caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis And the Spirillum minus. Rats carry bacteria that are part of the normal flora in their mouth and nose.

People can become infected through rat bites or scratches. Up to 10 percent of rat bites may result in rat fever. Other animals such as mice, gerbils, squirrels, cats, and dogs can also become infected and may or may not get rat fever, but they can still spread it.

Rat fever is thought to be rare in the United States. People who handle rats as part of their job or children who live in rat-infested areas are more likely to develop this disease.

salmonellosis

urchinsalmonellosis caused by salmonella The bacteria causes diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Pocket animals, especially hedgehogs, have been shown to be an important source of infection for humans. These animals carry salmonella Bacteria in her intestines and received in her stools.

People become infected when they eat or drink contaminated milk or water salmonella bacteria. Children under 5 years of age with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of developing serious illnesses.

What Diseases Associated With Wild Rabbits And Rodents Are Of Concern In Ohio?

hantavirus

hantavirus Pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a serious illness caused by exposure to the droppings or urine of mice that carry the virus. Humans are usually exposed when the virus is transmitted through the air and is inhaled.

It is important to take extra precautions when cleaning an enclosed space such as a shed, cabin, or trailer where mice are nested or rodent droppings are present. Wear a respiratory protection and saturate the waste with a disinfectant before removing it. Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mouse droppings.

No cases of hantavirus have been reported in Ohio, but deer rats and white-footed mice that carry the virus can be found throughout the state, and human cases have been reported in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and neighboring West Virginia.

leptospirosis

leptospirosis caused by Leptospira interrogans bacteria. It can infect humans and a wide variety of domestic and wild animals, including rodents.

leptospira shed in the urine of infected animals. Transmission usually occurs through exposure to water or contaminated soil leptospira Although transmission can also occur through direct contact with the urine of an animal that excretes the bacteria.

Epidemic

squirrelEpidemic It is a serious bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis. It is usually transmitted by the bite of a flea that feeds on an infected wild animal, such as a rat, chipmunk, or chipmunk. It usually causes large sores and abscesses in the lymph nodes under the arms and legs, although it can also cause signs of pneumonia.

Dogs, especially cats, can also become infected and can spread the disease to their human companions. Plague has not been reported in Ohio, and most cases in the United States occur in the southwestern and western states. Plague can be treated with antibiotics.

rat fever

rat fever It is a bacterial disease caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis And the Spirillum minus. Rats carry bacteria that are part of the normal flora in their mouth and nose.

People can become infected through rat bites or scratches. Up to 10 percent of rat bites may result in rat fever. Other animals such as mice, gerbils, squirrels, cats, and dogs can also become infected and may or may not get rat fever, but they can still spread it.

Rat fever is thought to be rare in the United States. People who handle rats as part of their job or children who live in rat-infested areas are more likely to develop this disease.

tularemia

rabbittularemia It is a bacterial disease caused by Francisella Tularensis. It is transmitted by rabbits and rodents, especially aquatic rodents such as beavers and muskrats.

People can be infected in many ways. Tularemia can be spread by:

  • tick bites;
  • Inhalation of polluted dust.
  • Direct contact with bacteria in the environment.
  • Eating contaminated food or water.

Symptoms vary with the course of the infection and range from ulcerated skin lesions to swollen lymph nodes and pneumonia. Tularemia can be treated with antibiotics.

To reduce your risk of developing tularemia when hiking, camping, or working outdoors:

  • Use insect repellants that contain 20 to 30 percent Dethylene Terephthalate.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks and deer flies away from your skin.
  • Remove the attached tick immediately with fine-tipped tweezers.
  • Do not drink untreated surface water.

When mowing or landscaping, do not mow sick or dead animals and consider using dust masks to reduce the risk of inhaling bacteria. If you hunt, hunt, or hunt skinned animals, use gloves when handling animals, especially rabbits, muskrats, prairie dogs, and other rodents, and cook game meat thoroughly before eating.

Diseases transmitted by insects

Wild rodents are host to many Ohio vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both of which are transmitted by ticks. Ticks become infected when they feed on infected rodents and can transmit the infection to future hosts, including humans and pets.

To reduce the risk of developing a vector-borne disease, avoid tick bites by wearing protective clothing and using repellents when possible exposure to ticks.


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