What Diseases do Squirrels Carry?
Squirrels are potential carrier of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Though there are different species that can carry zoonotic diseases, squirrels pass common sickness such as louse-borne typhus, tularemia, and encephalitis and Colorado-tick fever. They can also serve as a host for parasites such as ticks and other annoying pests. Most of the diseases aforementioned can be fatal when they are not treated immediately. Individuals who come in contact with the squirrels or their waste should be monitored closely and seek an immediate medical help if they noticed some related symptoms.
List of Diseases That a Squirrel Can Possibly Carry
While humans can acquire disease by coming in contact with contaminated water, feces, being bitten by the squirrel or handling carcasses, most of the disease can also be transmitted by the pests. Here are some of the diseases that you can get when you come in contact with an infected squirrel.
Although most of the warm-blooded mammal is a possible carrier of rabies, there are animals such as dogs, cats, and rodents that are susceptible to rabies. While there are no known cases of transmitting rabies from squirrel to human, you still have to be careful since they can still carry rabies that can be lethal to human. Squirrels are opossums, and they are considered low-risk when it comes to rabies.
Endemic plague is definitely a huge concern. In most cases, the plague can be spread by the parasites such as mites, lies, ticks, flies, and fleas. When you are handling any wildlife species, make sure that you will be careful and avoid being bitten by these pests. Normally, the plague has been associated with prairie dog; however, there are also cases when the plague has been transmitted through the ground squirrel. Some of the symptoms that you should look out for include swollen lymph nodes, fever, loss of appetite and build up of fluid in your lungs. In case the squirrel is heavily infested with fleas, you can use a flea treatment that is generally safe for your pets.
Different species can be a transmitter or Leptospirosis by having a direct contact with their urine or skin. One symptom that an animal is infected with Leptospirosis is the sign of blood on their urine due to the damage on their kidneys. If the squirrel is also walking in an arched back, there is a possibility that it is also a carrier of Leptospirosis. Pink eyes and bleeding eyes can also be a determining factor.
Tularemia is infectious bacteria that can be transmitted to human by having a contact with the bodily fluids of an infected animal. A squirrel infected with this disease can suffer an immediate death. Animal infected may show signs of lethargy and depressions. In human, the symptoms can be similar to Plague or the flu.
The perfect way to ensure that you will not get this disease is to avoid a direct contact with the animal. In case it is unavoidable, make sure that you will wear protective gears such as gloves and mask when handling them.
Read the How to get rid of squirrels page for helpful information and to learn more about What Diseases do Squirrels Carry?
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