Are Deer Mice A Problem In Oregon And Washington

Deer mice are closely related to the white-footed mouse and are commonly known carriers of various infectious diseases such as Hantaviruses and Lyme disease. Native to eastern North America they are often referred to as the eastern deer mouse. 

Are Deer Mice A Problem In Oregon

Deer mice live all over the state of Oregon. Though they are typically found in rural areas they are also known to be living in and under people’s homes as well. The risk of deer mice for humans is that they are commonly known for carrying the Hantavirus which causes HPS or Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Exposure to mouse droppings and urine by breathing in these airborne particles within the air is how the Hantavirus is transferred to humans. Flu-like symptoms will typically occur within weeks of exposure and can progress rapidly creating an immediate need for hospitalization and even intensive care. Though the virus can cause extreme complications, only 24 cases have been reported in Oregon since 1993 likely due to the fact that not all deer mice are carriers of this virus. 

Lyme disease is another infectious disease that deer mice carry. It’s caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and sometimes Borrelia mayonii. These ticks rely on deer mice as their hosts where they can then come into contact with people when these rodents are near. 

Facts About Hantavirus

Hantaviruses are a group of viruses that are known to be carried by rodents. The Hantavirus that is known to cause HPS within the U.S. is carried through New World rodents; specifically deer mice, cotton rats, the white-footed mouse and rice rats. People can get HPS when they breathe in air particles from rodents’ droppings and/or urine. Touching droppings, urine, or nesting can also spread the disease if someone touches their eyes, mouth, or nose or is bitten by an infected rodent.  Being in places that are likely to be infested with these rodents places one at greater risk of getting the virus. 

Facts About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. When humans are bitten by deer ticks they can become infected with this disease. Symptoms range from fever, headache, skin rashes, migraines, and fatigue. When the infection is left untreated it can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system making it very dangerous. Every year, state health departments in the United States report about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention though the true number of cases could potentially be 10 times higher.

Are Deer Mice A Problem In Washington

There are several types of hantaviruses. Sin Nombre virus is the hantavirus that can progress into HPS leading to death. Just like in Oregon, deer mice are found all over Washington state. When these mice become infected they place humans at risk of getting HPS. According to the Washington State Department of Health, one in five cases of this hantavirus is reported each year leaving those living in Washington at risk of getting the disease. 

Having deer mice close to where you live places you at greater risk of being exposed to the diseases they carry. Keeping your home sealed and maintained around the exterior as well as keeping food stored in sealed containers will help prevent these mice from wanting to take over your home. If an infestation does occur, contact a local pest control company that specializes in rodent control so you and your family can stay safe. 

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