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Urban House Mice are Existential Threat to Public Health


While rats have been vilified over the years as filthy vermin that can bite humans and spread disease, new research indicates that mice may be a greater threat.  In fact, recent research shows that mice carry more bacteria and viruses than rats, and they also have a greater capacity for transmitting it to humans.  Let’s take a closer look at why mouse-control is so important now as well as during a survival situation.


Indoor Creatures

Mice nest a lot closer to humans than rats, and this close proximity makes it relatively-easy for them to pass on pathogens through their droppings, urine or while they are nibbling on our food.  Mice can also transmit them to pets, leave traces on small objects or even contaminate linens and clothing.  On the other hand, rats tend to avoid crossing paths with humans whenever possible, and this reduces the chances of exposure.  While we should still worry about rats, we should be worrying about mice more.


Hundreds of Pathogens

House mice carry hundreds of viruses and bacteria, and dozens of them can be harmful to humans.  Salmonella, listeria and E. coli are just a few examples of nasty bugs that can easily be passed on to us.  Additionally, mice in New York City have tested positive for a number of superbugs that are resistant to most antibiotics.  What researchers don’t know is how many infections that send people to the doctor or hospital every year are linked to mice, and this should have us all concerned.


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Not From Bites

Mice are not known to bite humans, but scratches are one possible route that bacteria and viruses can be transmitted.  However, the majority of infections occur when we come into contact with a carrier mouse itself or with its droppings, residual urine, dust, dander or saliva.  While mice may look cute and cuddly, they should be approached or handled with caution.  Consider wearing gloves and a mask when practical, especially when cleaning as well.


Limit Exposure

Keeping the living area clean, making sure food is properly stored in containers that mice can’t chew through, and filling holes or crevices to keep them out are the best ways to encourage mice to nest elsewhere.  If you do have persistent mice problems, it may be worth considering extermination or talking with an expert to come up with a customized solution that will work in your situation.  Take some time to consider how you can mouse-proof your stockpiles, bug-out location and survival kits as well.  We can’t understate the importance of keeping rodents at bay, and this should be something that is on top of our preparedness priority list.


As long as we live in close proximity to mice, they will remain an existential threat to public health.  Remember the plague.  Rodents are considered to be the carriers that passed the virus onto humans and killed millions, and mice were a big part of that equation.  It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that we can experience a similar outbreak, and now that we know that mice are carriers of superbugs, this threat is more imminent than ever.

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