Rats and mice may be a nuisance in many areas. They don’t just cause damage; they may also be a health risk because of diseases they may carry. To reduce your chances of encountering rodent pests, you can limit places in homes and businesses where they can find food or shelter.

  • The best way to prevent rodent infestation is to remove sources of food, water, and shelter for rodents. Seal gaps or holes rodents could enter.
  • Make sure to clean areas of rodent droppings safely using recommended cleaning procedures. Avoid stirring up dust in areas contaminated with droppings and nests.
  • Rodents can carry diseases like hantavirus, leptospirosis, tularemia, and rat-bite fever. Rodents may also carry fleas and ticks that can transmit diseases.
  • Contact us if you have any concerns about rodents. Call us at 360-778-6000 or email us.

How Rodents Spread Disease

Rodents can carry diseases that may be transmitted through:

  • A bite.
  • Breathing in germs from rodent urine or feces that are stirred up into the air.
  • Eating or drinking food or water contaminated by rodents.

Rodents may also carry ticks or fleas that could transmit disease.

Hantavirus & Other Diseases Spread by Rodents

In Washington State, deer mice may carry a type of virus called hantavirus. Hantavirus causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a serious condition in which the lungs become filled with fluid so that it becomes hard to breathe. Most people require hospital care, and about 1 in 3 people with HPS have died. You might be at risk of HPS if you are cleaning up areas where rodent urine and droppings get stirred up into the air and inhaled.

Rodents also carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tularemia, and rat-bite fever.

Reduce Your Risk of Disease

  • Keep food, including pet food, in rodent-proof containers.
  • Keep rodents out of your home or workplace. Trap indoor rats and mice.
  • Remove access to shelter, food, and water.
  • Seal holes and gaps that are bigger than 1/4 inch where rodents might enter buildings. You might need to seal spaces around windows and door sills, under sinks around pipes, and in foundations and attics.

Clean up rodent droppings carefully.

  • Air out enclosed areas for at least 30 minutes by opening doors and windows. Leave the enclosed area while it's being aired out.
  • Don’t stir up any dust by vacuuming or sweeping. Dust masks may not protect against viruses that you might breathe in.
  • Wear rubber, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves.
  • Spray rodent droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water, and use a paper towel, sponge, or mop to clean up.
  • Dispose of cleaning materials along with droppings or other rodent material.

Visit the Washington State Department of health’s website for more information about cleaning up after and preventing rodent infestations