You're out on a nature hike, minding your own business when suddenly you spot a small, scurrying creature in the tall grass. Could it be a field mouse? It's hard to tell from this distance. But one thing is certain—you can't help but wonder if it carries rabies. Could it be true that these tiny creatures are capable of carrying such an infectious virus?
Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer – a combination of factors needs to be taken into consideration when determining whether or not field mice are capable of transmitting the disease.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus and affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including humans. The virus is usually transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, most often through bites or scratches. In rare cases, rabies can be contracted from contact with an infected animal's fur, saliva, or feces. Rabies can cause severe symptoms, such as fever, headache, confusion, and convulsions. If left untreated, it can result in death.
Is It Possible for Field Mice to Contract Rabies?
There have been documented cases of wild mice carrying the rabies virus. However, these cases are extremely rare and typically occur only in areas where other animals—such as bats or skunks—have been known to carry rabies. While field mice can contract rabies from another animal and transmit it to humans through their bite or scratch, this type of transmission is very unlikely due to their small size and lack of contact with humans.
How Can I Protect Myself from Contracting Rabies from Field Mice?
The best way to protect yourself from contracting rabies from field mice is to avoid contact with them altogether. If you do come into contact with a wild mouse, never attempt to capture it or handle it without wearing protective gloves.
It's also important to make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations so they don't get infected by any rabid wild animals they might encounter while outdoors.
What Should You Do When You Are Exposed to A Rabid Rodent?
If you believe you may have been exposed to a rabid rodent or another wild animal, you should immediately contact your physician or local health department. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action, which may include a series of rabies vaccinations.
Field mice and other wild rodents are not only present outdoors, but can also enter residential areas. It is therefore important to be mindful of any potential risks associated with these animals. Although rabies is a rare occurrence, it can still be contracted from wild animals and is particularly dangerous if not treated properly.
To ensure you are free from rodent infestation in the future, your home must undergo a comprehensive exclusion review to eliminate all potential points of entry. This way, these pesky critters will be unable to make themselves at home and instead seek shelter elsewhere.