Field mice (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Vojtech.dostal ) mouse - Credit: Field mice (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Vojtech.dostal )
Wednesday, 4 November 2015 - 09:28
Illnesses from rats, mice more than triple in a year
Last year the number of patients with diseases transmitted by wild rodents more than tripled compared to previous years. This mostly involves Leptospirosis, 97 patients last year instead of the average of 30, and Hantavirus infections, 36 patients instead of the usual annual average of 13. The National Institute for Public Health and Environment, the RIVM, and the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, the NVWA, announced this on Tuesday. The bacteria that causes Leptospirosis is found in rodents such as mice and rats. When an infected rat urinates in surface water, the water can become contaminated and then infect humans. For example, when they swim in open water. Symptoms of Leptospirosis can vary widely from flu like symptoms to severe kidney and liver disease. The Hantavirus can also cause symptoms ranging from flu like symptoms to serious kidney problems. The strain of Hantavirus prevalent in the Netherlands is the Puumula virus, which is transmitted by bank voles and field mice. In humans the Puumula virus can cause fever and renal failure. According to the two organizations, the cause of the increase in rodent transmitted diseases is not entirely clear, but the mild winter and hot summer likely played the role. The organizations are not too worried about the situation, because the number of patients is limited.