While we should all feel blessed to be surrounded by raccoons, dogs and bats that make our fauna diversity more interesting and exciting, these animals can also be a potential source of rabies, a completely preventable disease that can turn 100 percent fatal when not treated immediately.
Compared with third world countries, nations like the United States fare better when it comes to fighting rabies. That doesn't mean, however, it no longer exists. Early this year, some bats found in Irvine Regional Park in California tested positive for the rabies virus.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that can be passed on between animals and between animals and humans through saliva. In very rare cases, rabies is spread through corneal transplant.
This means that humans can acquire the virus if they have been bitten or their open wounds or cracked skin is licked by a rabid animal. Humans can also develop rabies if they've been scratched by claws covered with saliva. It cannot be transmitted through other means like urine or blood, or by petting a rabid animal.
Once the rabies gets into the body, it attaches itself to the nerve cells, gradually destroying the nervous system. In its last performance, it attacks the brain, killing the person.
The incubation period is usually two to 12 weeks, but in some situations, clinical symptoms can occur less than two weeks up to at least a year, depending on how much virus the saliva had, the person's immunity and the location of the bite. The closer it is to the brain, the faster the symptoms can appear.
Treatment for Rabies
There have been reported cases of people who survived rabies, but almost always, people die after the signs and symptoms of rabies appear. These include:
- Prickling sensation or itching in the wound site
- Feeling of discomfort
- Agitation or anxiety
- Disorientation and hallucination
- Changes in behavior
- Difficulty drinking water
- Hypersensitivity to light
There's also no diagnostic test that can determine if the virus has already entered the body and how far along it is in destroying the brain.
However, people who have been bitten by an animal with rabies can be treated with a vaccine, which can be administered before or after the bite (the latter, called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, is more common). When the vaccination is performed, it can differ according to the degree of contact with suspected rabies:
These shots can be provided in hospitals, animal bite centers and vaccine clinics.
First aid can also be done prior to the vaccination. This includes washing the wound with running water and soap, then cleaning the area thoroughly. Exposure to rabies can also be prevented or significantly reduced by vaccinating pets annually.
Almost all homeowners know the feeling of unease that accompanies finding mice or rodents in your home. Whether in the kitchen, attic, basement or dining room - a rodent sighting can incite surprise and fear in even the most composed homeowner. Unfortunately, these common pests are resourceful creatures that can enter a building or home through the smallest opening or crack, and require very little space to travel inside. Mice can easily fit through spaces as small as a nickel!
Rodents seek shelter indoors, especially during the cooler fall and winter months, and once inside can cause more than just an unpleasant infestation. Rodents put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires. More frequently, though, rodents serve as vectors, carrying bacteria, such as salmonella, on their bodies and contaminating food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment. The common white-footed deer mouse is also known to transmit the potentially fatal Hantavirus.
Simple Rodent Control Tips
Fortunately, there are many ways homeowners can proactively prevent and get rid of rodent infestations in their homes:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
- If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.
If you spot evidence of a rodent infestation, do not hesitate to act to handle the problem. Rodents are known to reproduce quickly, and a small problem can turn into a big issue overnight if left untreated.
Rodent control and management are important for health and safety reasons.
If you're noticing a rodent issue please contact a Professional such as Rodent Solutions for rodent removal in your Sarasota and/or Bradenton Home and/or Office. - Call 941-704-0063
The National Pest Management Association explains why rodents invade cars
FAIRFAX, VA – Many causes are possible when vehicles experience problems, but it might surprise motorists to learn that a rodent infestation could be one of them. According to the National Pest Management Association, several innate factors drive rodents under the hood, leading to car damage, particularly during wintertime.
“Vehicles possess the ideal attributes that attract rodents in winter, including shelter and built-up warmth from commutes,” says Michael Bentley, Ph.D., a staff entomologist at NPMA. “Rodents hate being out in the open where they are vulnerable to predators, so when they see a car holding freshly generated heat that also offers protection from the great outdoors, they are drawn to it for cover.”
Entering into cars is easy — a mouse, for example, can squeeze through openings as small as a dime. Once inside, any crumbs the owner leaves behind, or other chewable items, will hold rodents’ attention, and that includes wires.
“Rodents are instinctively avid chewers. About three percent of their daily activity is just gnawing on objects like wires,” says Bentley. “Unfortunately, cars have an abundance of materials that rodents enjoy chewing through.”
Changes in car design may also attract rodents. Recently, numerous consumers have reported experiencing rodent infestations in their cars, attributing them to the materials manufacturers are using in their eco-friendly models, such as soy-based wiring, which is especially appealing to a rodent’s palate.
Costly car repairs aside, rodents can also have negative effects on human health. They can, for example, cause respiratory issues, including asthma and allergy symptoms.
To eliminate the likelihood of rodents infesting a vehicle, keep trash in tightly closed containers and seal up points of entry into the garage. Drivers should also regularly look under the hood for gnawed materials, nests, droppings and frayed wires.
There are many wild animals native to the United States that people likely encounter on a near-daily basis, sometimes without even realizing it. These common backyard creatures have found ways to co-exist with humans, which unfortunately can lead them to become nuisance pests and even occasional health threats. Though these wild animals may not always be a welcome sight for homeowners, they do have some interesting characteristics!
Squirrels are fierce fighters.
Squirrel varieties can be found in every region of the United States. A group of squirrels is called a scurry. Squirrels are extremely territorial and will even fight to the death to defend their area. Mother squirrels are especially vicious when protecting their babies. Squirrels frequently enter attics and chimneys in the winter. To keep them out, seal all possible points of entry around the house, screen vents and openings to chimneys and keep tree limbs cut back six to eight feet from the roofline.
Raccoons will eat almost anything.
Raccoons are omnivores and will eat just about anything, including fish, mice, insects, stolen eggs and human trash. Raccoons also sometimes "wash" their food by rapidly dunking it in water before eating. Their adaptable eating habits have allowed them to make themselves at home in many environments, from forests and marshes to cities and the suburbs. Homeowners should be sure to store trash cans and recycling bins in sealed areas or with animal-proof lids to keep raccoons, which are frequent carriers of rabies, off their property.
Opossums are good actors.
Opossums are the only marsupials found in North America. Female opossums give birth to young as tiny as honey bees that immediately crawl into their mother's pouch where their development continues. Typically, fewer than half of opossum young survive in to adulthood. Opossums are known for "playing dead" when threatened by predators. They will fall onto their sides and lie on the ground, extend their tongues and either close their eyes or stare straight in to space. Do not approach an opossum in this state, as they have sharp teeth and in rare cases may bite if they feel threatened. Opossums have been known to create messy dens in homeowner's attics and garages.
Bats are often protected by law.
Bats are protected by law in most states, so it is important to check with animal control or wildlife services for any regulations before bat-proofing your home. The best time to bat-proof is the beginning of autumn, when bats leave for hibernation. Bats can pose serious health threats to humans if they are not removed from structures; bat droppings can harbor a fungus that causes lung disease.
Voles are small, but mighty.
Voles, also known as meadow mice or field mice, are a type of rodent that can be found in most regions of the United States. They are active year-round, and do not hibernate. Their populations tend to fluctuate and are dependent on factors such as food quality, climate and physiological stress. Voles construct many tunnels with various burrow entrances and can cause extensive damage to orchards, young trees and field crops. They're even capable of ruining lawns and golf courses with their extensive tunnel systems.
Groundhogs are true hibernators.
Groundhogs are among the few mammals that enter into true hibernation, which generally starts in late fall near the end of October and continues until late February. These rodents will gorge themselves all summer to build up their fat reserves. After the first frost, they enter their underground burrows and hibernate until spring, where they survive off of their accumulated body fat. During hibernation, the groundhog's heart rate plunges and its body temperature will not be much higher than that inside the burrow. To keep groundhogs out of crawlspaces, it is important to inspect homes for access points, such as broken vent covers or holes in the foundation. Burrowing groundhogs have been known to destroy building foundations.
If you're noticing a rodent issue please contact a Professional such as Rodent Solutions for rodent removal in your Sarasota and/or Bradenton Home and/or Office. - Call 941-704-0063
Nearly 1/3 of American homes have reported a mouse problem at one time or another, and it’s not hard to believe considering how much we have in common with these furry little pests. Whether you are a passionate chocolate lover, or a fitness fanatic, there’s a good chance you’ll find something on this list that you love too. As a matter of fact, your similar interests may just be inviting them in.
Since most mouse problems occur during fall and winter months when mice are seeking warmth inside people’s homes, you’ll want to know exactly what mice like so you can make sure they don’t like your house.
- Eating -- Most rodents prefer seeds and grains, but will nibble on almost anything. However, the stereotype that mice love cheese isn’t true because their sensitive noses find it a bit too smelly.
- Chewing -- Rodent teeth never stop growing, so they need to chew all the time to file down their incisors. They also chew up various things to make soft bedding for their nests.
- Gettin’ busy! A female mouse can have her first litter at just 6-8 weeks old and reproduce about every two months after that. Needless to say, there is no such thing as ‘just one mouse’ and you can go from one sighting to an infestation in the blink of an eye.
- Sneaking around -- Night time is the right time if you are a mouse. Since visual acuity is not a strong suit for mice, evening hours and dim lighting are not a setback. And since you’re sound asleep, they can have the run of the house.
- Athletic training -- You might not believe it, but mice can jump more than three times their height; they are capable swimmers, and they can climb almost any terrain. All of that means that the best way to keep mice out is to make sure they don’t want to come in in the first place.
- Staying close to home --Even though mice can be found all over the world, they prefer to spend most of their time less than 20 feet away from their nest or burrow. This means that when you see signs of mice, they didn’t just ‘eat and run;’ they are always nearby.
- Pets -- Rodents don’t mind eating Fido or Fluffy’s sloppy seconds. If you leave a dish of food out 24/7, rats and mice will come and grab the nutricious morsels up to 20X daily, then ‘cache’ ( stock pile) for later consumption!
Instead, keep the food dishes empty until meal time so you know you’re only feeding your fur-family members and no one else.
Despite our common interests, these pests are not people. Rodents can carry many diseases like salmonella and Hantavirus, and are a health risk for people – their hair can even aggravate asthma.
Source-Rita Stadler www.earthkind.org
Researchers have developed a new mouse model that could be used in Zika research to better understand the virus and find new treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.
A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.
Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika.
"This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and potentially help to develop treatments or vaccines," says Mohanraj Manangeeswaran, senior staff fellow in the FDA's Office of Pharmaceutical Quality. "Because the mice used in this model have immune systems that allow them to survive initial infection, they could be particularly helpful for studying the long-term effects of Zika virus infection."
The new mouse model employs a mouse strain called C57BL/6, which is commonly used in disease research. The scientists infected 1-day-old C57BL/6 mice with Zika virus and found that they develop symptoms of neurological disease, such as unsteady gait and seizures that gradually fade over two weeks.
The researchers compared their new mouse model with young mice that have immune system defects and are known to die several days after Zika infection. They found significant differences in disease progression, immune system response, and neurological effects between the two models.
Across the country, chilly temperatures and early snowstorms are forcing more than just people indoors. Rodents including mice, rats and squirrels are seeking food, water and shelter in homes. Unfortunately, more bad weather could be on the way as the Farmers' Almanac is forecasting a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from rodent infestations during colder months.
"Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests."
The accumulation of feces from mice and rats can spread bacteria and contaminate food sources. These rodent droppings are known to trigger allergies and cause diseases including Hantavirus and Salmonella. In addition to health risks, rodents can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the risk of a house fire.
NPMA offers the following tips to avoid a rodent infestation:
- Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes.
- Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
- Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
- Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks.
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.
For more information about household pests and to find a local pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.
The study, published in the latest issue of Nature Methods, demonstrates how the hardwiring of some animals may cause them to react differently toward men or women. It has important applications for laboratory studies involving rodents, since the sex of the experimenter could affect research outcomes.
Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University’s Department of Psychology and colleagues used what is known as “the mouse grimace scale” to compare mouse responses to pain in the presence of male or female experimenters. Reading about this study may make some grimace, themselves.
The researchers induced pain in mice via injections of an inflammatory agent. They then compared facial grimacing of the mice in the presence of either a male or a female experimenter.
Mogil and his team noted a marked reduction in pain sensation, known as “stress-induced analgesia,” when a man conducted the experiment. In keeping with that finding, the mice in the presence of men also showed increases in body temperature and corticosterone levels. Corticosterone is a stress hormone.
The same thing happened when the female experimenters donned T-shirts that previously had been worn by men, strongly suggesting that the odor of the men is what triggered the stress.
The rodents left behind their own smelly evidence.
“Supporting the assertion that exposure to male odor is stressful is the significant increase in fecal boli deposited by mice in the 30-minute testing period in which they were exposed to male, but not female, worn t-shirts,” the researchers wrote.
It could be that testosterone or male pheromones trigger fear in rodents, but the exact reasons remain a mystery.
Pet rodents doted on by male caretakers seem to display no such fear, so it may be possible that life experiences can overcome any mice or rat predispositions.
Laboratory animals, however, obviously don’t receive that kind of pet pampering, so the study could have far-reaching implications for future research involving mice, rats and other rodents.
As Mogil and his team conclude, “Our findings strongly suggest that standard laboratory practice should account for experimenter sex when investigating any phenomenon possibly affected by stress.”
When New Yorkers see something scurrying, they say something and that has brought rat complaints to the city's 311 hotline to a recent high of more than 24,000 so far this year, officials said on Thursday.
"The rats are taking over," New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer told Reuters. "I'm a lifelong New Yorker and I've never seen it this bad... I see them on my way home, they're standing upright, they say, 'Good morning, Mr. Comptroller.'"
With more than two months of grumbling still left in 2015, rodent-related grievances were already at 24,375 as of Wednesday, said Mayor Bill de Blasio spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas. That's up from 20,545 in 2014 and 19,321 in 2013. And that's just above-ground rats - complaints about vermin in the subway are routed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and not recorded by the 311 line, Grybauskas said.
A city Health Department rodent expert, Carolyn Bragdon, laid the blame, in part, on a new 311 mobile phone app in use since February 2014, making it easier to rat out the pests to the city's hotline that has been operating since 2003.
"Whenever you launch a new vehicle for complaints, you tend to see increases," Bragdon said. "Over 90 percent of the increase in complaints was due to the app."
So far this year, rat complaints consisted of 17,356 calls, 2,347 online remarks and 4,672 mobile app entries, statistics show. Last year there were 16,964 calls, 2,361 online remarks and 1,220 mobile app entries.
Although the rodent issue in the Sarasota/Bradenton area is not to be compared to the one in NYC, it is still a extremely large. The new building going on in the Sarasota/Bradenton area is forcing rodents (rats, mice, squirrels) out of their natural habitat. The rodents are forced to find a new home when land is cleared. More often than not, the rats/mice/squirrels prefer your attic in the evenings for protection during reproduction. Don't let a rodent infestation happen to you. Call Rodent Solutions for a FREE inspection of your home. A Rodent Solutions technician will identify all areas in your home that could allow for a rodent Infestation to begin. Call us today! 941-704-0063
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