Mice
Effective control of mice infestation involves prevention and mice population reduction. Preventive measures include sanitation and exclusion.

A naughty mouse may look adorable in cartoons, but mice are troublesome pests that bite off everything, such as shoes, clothes, and electrical wires. A mouse bite may need treatment and injections. Mice destroy the stored grains and are also carriers for various diseases from the bubonic plague to leptospirosis.

Effective control of mice infestation involves prevention and mice population reduction. Preventive measures include sanitation and exclusion.

1. Traps:

Trapping is an effective method for places where there are smaller numbers of mice. However, the traps need to be placed in strategic locations, such as on-ground close to the walls, behind objects, in dark corners, and in places where there is evidence of mouse activity.

Trapping has several advantages, such as

  • It eliminates or restricts the use of hazardous rodenticides
  • It allows for disposing of off trapped mice, thereby eliminating dead mouse odors that may result from rodenticides

There are two types of traps, snap traps and electrocution traps.

  • Snap traps: You can make use of any of the available snap traps, such as:
    • Wooden mouse-size snap trap or plastic snap trap
    • Multiple-capture live traps (Victor Tin Cat and the Ketch-All)

Set the triggers lightly so the traps can bounce easily.

  • Electrocution traps: Electrocution traps are battery-operated traps that kill rats by electrocution (Rat Zapper, Victor). They are expensive but are effective measures of mice control by owners of commercial spaces and professional pest control services.

2. Glue boards:

Glue boards are sticking pads that work in much the same way as flypaper catches flies. Mice stick to them when they attempt to cross them. They are easily available at grocery stores and retail outlets.

3. Baits:

Baits to control mice are foods, such as peanut butter or cheese, mixed with rat poison (rodenticides). Mice get attracted to poisonous foods, eat them, and die.

Anticoagulant rodenticides: 

These are the ones that cause the death of the mice by thinning their blood. They usually take several days to kill the mice as mice keep feeding on them.

Read the label carefully. The bait application directions typically recommend providing an uninterrupted supply of bait for at least 10 or 15 days or until you observe that there is no mice activity. A rodent feeding on anticoagulant bait usually takes 2-6 days to die following ingestion of a lethal dose.

Other rodenticides:

Like anti-coagulants, Bromethalin and Cholecalciferol, also take several days to cause the death of the mouse that ingests it. Zinc phosphide is an acute toxicant that causes the death of a house mouse within several hours after a lethal dose is ingested. It appears to be the fastest way of getting rid of mice by reducing their population.

4. Sanitation:

Keeping the home and kitchen clean and clutter-free plays a key role in achieving successful control of the mice population. If they can’t find places where they can get food easily to build their nests and rear their young, they cannot stay in such homes for long. Keep the snacks and pet food well sealed and packed.

5. Exclusion:

Exclusion is the most successful and permanent form of house mouse control. It involves blocking all possible points from where the mice can enter your homes. Here is what you need to do

  • Eliminate all the entry gaps and openings larger than 1/4 inch. Stainless steel scouring pads make a good temporary seal. Permanent or long-lasting measures include sealing the cracks in building foundations and around openings for water pipes, vents, and utility cables with metal or concrete.
  • Ensure that doors, windows, and screens fit tightly. If you find any gap through which the mice can enter, use metal pads to close it. Avoid using things, such as plastic screening, rubber, vinyl, insulating foam, wood, and other gnawable materials, for plugging the holes.

If you are unable to get rid of mice with all these measures, it is better to call a professional pest control service.

How common is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a zoologic disease that humans contract through contact with infected animal urine. People who are most at risk of getting leptospirosis live in poor sanitary conditions like urban slums and tropical climate regions that are prone to flooding.
People who are most at risk of getting leptospirosis live in poor sanitary conditions like urban slums and tropical climate regions that are prone to flooding.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. Humans get infected through direct exposure with the Leptospira interrogans bacteria that resides in the urine of infected animals. It can enter the body through cuts on the skin or through openings in the body like the eyes, nose, and mouth. 

People who are most at risk of getting leptospirosis live in poor sanitary conditions like urban slums and tropical climate regions that are prone to flooding. People who work with animals or spend significant recreational time in floodwaters are also at higher risk of contracting the disease. Person-to-person transmission is rare.

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What are the symptoms of leptospirosis?

Most infections of leptospirosis in humans are either asymptomatic or show only mild signs. The symptoms that are caused by leptospirosis include:

These leptospirosis symptoms can be caused by other diseases. It is therefore important to consult a doctor if you suspect you might have been exposed to leptospirosis.

Severe leptospirosis is characterized by multiple organ dysfunction that includes the liver, lungs, brain, and kidneys. The combination of jaundice and renal failure, known as Weil’s disease, is an effective indicator of leptospirosis.   

It takes between 2 days and 4 weeks from the time you were contaminated to show signs of being sick. It typically begins with a sudden and abrupt case of fever, with potentially some of the other symptoms identified above. Leptospirosis usually occurs in two phases:

  • During phase one, the patient has fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • If phase two occurs, it is usually more severe, where the patient can suffer kidney or liver failure or meningitis.

The illness lasts from a few days to 3 or more weeks. Recovery may take several months if not treated.

What causes leptospirosis?

Humans contract leptospirosis if the Leptospira interrogans bacterium enters their body through a cut in the skin or an opening in the body. This bacterium resides in the urine of animals, especially rats and farm animals.

Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, but is most common in temperate or tropical climates. It is an occupational hazard for many people who work outdoors or with animals, such as:

  • Farmers
  • Fishermen
  • Miners
  • Sewer workers
  • Slaughterhouse workers
  • Veterinarians and animal caretakers
  • Military personnel

The disease has also been linked to recreational outdoor activities like kayaking, swimming, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. The risk increases for those who participate in these activities in tropical or temperate climates.

Temporary climate conditions like hurricanes and flooding increase the risk of contracting leptospirosis. Floodwaters will pick up contaminated urine from the soil and can infect humans if they swim or wade into those waters and it gets into their bodies.

When to see a doctor for leptospirosis

You should see a doctor if you develop any of the symptoms listed above and have been in areas of increased risk for contracting leptospirosis. While the symptoms of leptospirosis are similar to other diseases, only a doctor can confirm the case and guide needed treatment, like administering a prescription for antibiotics.

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How is leptospirosis diagnosed?

The symptoms of leptospirosis are similar to other diseases like the flu or meningitis. Your doctor will therefore need to do more than a physical exam to determine whether or not you have leptospirosis. They will likely take a blood sample to examine it for antibodies.

How is leptospirosis treated?

Treatment

Most cases of leptospirosis are mild and resolve on their own. However, early detection and immediate medical treatment are important in effectively curing leptospirosis and for preventing the disease from progressing to more severe levels.

Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin or doxycycline. Intravenous antibiotics might be used for those with more severe symptoms. 

Prevention

The best way to avoid contracting leptospirosis is to take precautions to limit exposure in areas and situations where the disease is found. Care should be taken to avoid handling sick animals or getting in contact with their urine. Recreational water sports should be done in bodies of water that have not recently been flooded or hit with a hurricane.

For workers in the fields identified above, personal protective equipment such as gloves, boots, googles, and overalls should be worn to protect exposure of mucous membranes and the skin.   

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Medically Reviewed on 3/7/2022
References
Timm RM. How to Manage Pests (House Mouse). Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, University of California. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7483.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Hurricanes, Floods and Leptospirosis."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Leptospirosis."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Leptospirosis Treatment."

Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology: "Leptospirosis in Humans."

World Health Organization: "Leptospirosis."