We think of mice as cute little furry creatures popularized in movies like Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and Ratatouille. Of course, we’re all happy to put on mouse ears when we go to Disney.
But when a mouse gets in the house their droppings carry diseases and their voracious chewing can ruin the wiring in your home, not to mention a lot of food. But that’s just the tip of the mouse-tail, according to a new scientific study showing mice are much more dangerous than we ever imagined.
Columbia University Says Mice are Dangerous
A new scientific study released in April 2018 from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health shows that mice could carry dangerous antibiotic-resistant superbugs right into your living quarters.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity, collected and analyzed 416 mice from seven residential apartment buildings in New York City. Scientists conducted genetic analysis of their droppings and found several types of contagious gastrointestinal diseases, including E. coli, Shigella, and C. difficile. The feces also contained the number one cause of food poisoning: Salmonella.
Annually in the U.S., Salmonella causes 1.4 million illnesses, with 15,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths from the diseases. But that information wasn’t new to the Columbia scientists conducting the research. What was startling was that they found evidence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which when transmitted to humans, could be life-threatening. The researchers had this to say about their findings:
New Yorkers tend to focus on rats because they are larger and we see them
scurrying around in streets or subways; however, from a public health
vantage point, mice are more worrisome because they live indoors
and are more likely to contaminate our environment, even if
we don’t see them.
The researchers suggest that these diseases are passed to humans after mice infect the food supply or even come in contact with plates and silverware. Mice are known to live in close proximity to humans and have even earned the nickname “house mice” because they live well indoors in places where they’re hard to spot.
How to Prevent Mice Infestation
Keeping your family safe from the threat of E-coli or some other more dangerous disease means keeping mice outdoors where they belong. Some of the steps you can take to make your home less appealing to mice include:
- Clean and organize your home regularly. Clutter allows mice to hide and be less noticeable.
- Neatly cut back outdoor shrubs and keep debris out of your yard.
- Walk around the outside of your home and look for holes and cracks around any doors, windows, or any piping running in and out of your home. Then seal the cracks with good multi-purpose outdoor sealer.
- Stay alert for mouse droppings near baseboards or grey smears on the walls – all signs that mice have come to visit.
If you spot any signs that there’s a mouse in the house, it’s always a good idea to call a professional. Making sure your family is safe is worth the house call.