Rats are well-known spreaders of disease, and one of the most dangerous diseases is the hantavirus. The severity of this disease makes rodent control methods an absolute necessity for your business. Understanding this virus and how rats spread it can help you decide which form of pest control you want to utilize.
Symptoms of Hantavirus
Hantavirus is an incredibly serious viral infection that attacks the lungs; its mortality rate generally lies within the range of 5-15%, but certain strains can be a high as 50%. Symptoms of hantavirus include:
- Cold spells
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
There is no cure for the hantavirus; only its symptoms can be treated. Pain and anti-nausea medicines are commonly prescribed to make the patient comfortable. But as the disease increases in severity, oxygen machines are often necessary to help the person breathe.
How Rats Spread Hantavirus
Scientists believe that most hantavirus infections begin when dust in a building, which is contaminated with rat droppings, stirs up and is inhaled. However, they also believe that it can spread when someone touches an infected area or by accidentally ingesting food contaminated by rat droppings. Bites can also spread the disease. Animals, such as dogs, cats, hamsters, and other pets do not spread hantavirus to humans.
Rodents That Carry Hantavirus
Not every rodent in America carries the hantavirus; it is focused on several different species spread out across America. Identifying these rodents can help you know whether or not your business is at risk for hantavirus infection. Rodents that carry hantavirus include:
- Deer Mouse: about 2-3 inches in length, with a 2-3 inch tail. It is usually gray or brown with a white underbelly and a tail with very white sides. The Deer Mouse is present in just about every state in the country.
- Rice Rat: with a body about 5-6 inches long and a tail from 4-7 inches, the Rice Rat is fairly large. Its fur is very short and generally brown. Their underbellies are often gray. Rice Rats are found primarily in the southeastern US.
- Cotton Rat: about the same size as the rice rat, but with longer fur and a tendency to be darker in color. They are found heavily in the southeastern US, much like the Rice Rat.
- White-footed mouse: looks a lot like the Deer Mouse: about the same size and with the same coloring. They are very widespread, living as far east as New England and throughout multiple western states.
Eliminating the Hantavirus Risk With Rodent Control
Rat control methods vary, depending on your business needs. For example, you may be able to use natural DIY repellent treatments, such as mint, peppermint oil, moth balls, and raw sweet potatoes. However, rat traps and rat poisons are also effective DIY rat control methods, especially in the back rooms of your business. Catching them here can keep them from spreading the hantavirus to the front areas of your business, where you interact with customers.
If you are a solid carpenter, you may be able to utilize rat exclusion techniques. Exclusion is the process of sealing common rat entryways on the exterior of your business. These entry ways include cracks in the walls, unsealed vents, and even the space between an air conditioner and the wall. Essentially, you nail wire or mesh to these holes to keep the rats out.
Utilizing these rat control techniques should keep them out of your business and keep your customers safe from the hantavirus. However, if you have a severe rat infestation that peppermint oil just can't shake, contact a professional rat control specialist right away.
Reach out to a service like All Seasons Pest Control for more information.