As reported in the Seattle Times scientists have now found that mice can become infected with Covid-19. Up to now we’ve known that a few other animals can become infected with the virus, but this is the first news that a species that are prevalent in Washington state, and that easily infest homes, can have the disease.
At this stage the results have only been replicated in a laboratory setting, but the findings are unsettling. Given how many mice live in the wild here, should the coronavirus get into the mouse population, it could spread quickly.
The B1.351 and P.1 variants extend SARS-CoV-2 host range to mice
Researchers in Europe determined that mice could carry the virus. Title of the research is The B1.351 and P.1 variants extend SARS-CoV-2 host range to mice. It was already known that bats, monkeys, minks, large cats and apes could carry the virus, as well as humans. And since it is quite established that COVID-19 originated in China with a leap from bats, it is very possible that mouse populations could harbor the virus. And just as important, with a wider variety of host animals the opportunity for further variations in the virus, further complicating concerns for humans.
Can these COVID-19 infected mice infect humans?
More studies are needed, however, scientists know that the coronavirus has been transmitted from animals to humans, and from humans to animals – as been indicated in multiple documented cases.
Here in Washington there are two primary species of mice that invade homes or otherwise easily come in close contact with people: the House Mouse (Mus musculus) and the Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). Both mice are extremely prolific so at times their populations can be alarming around homes, barns and gardens. House Mice are found throughout cities and sprawling neighborhoods, whereas Deer Mice are abundant in rural areas but their habitat extends well into many suburban neighborhoods, especially near green belts, forested areas, and Parks.
What can we do about rodents potentially presenting disease pathogens?
The whole idea of pests such as mosquitos, ticks and rodents carrying disease and seriously affecting people is an age-old problem. Historically rodents carried the Plague. Closer to home we’ve had mice carry Hantavirus resulting in several deaths here in the greater Seattle area within the last 15 years. Now there is a potential that rodents—in this case, mice—could harbor coronavirus and spread it to us.
What we can do is what we should always be doing, employ sound rodent pest management around our homes and businesses. In the case of mice (and rats)—which can spread a number of diseases—routine service which includes some form of monitoring and the maintenance of exterior perimeter ‘bait stations’ is most basic. There are other steps that can also be taken, including some good housekeeping practices, that your Cascade technician can recommend.
Social distancing and masks will do you little if any good for a virus carried by a mouse. However, besides a professional rodent management system in place getting immunized is still the best defense.
Call Cascade Pest Control for a professional rodent management system 888-989-8979
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