Mice, Rats A Danger to Health and Home This Season

FAIRFAX, Va. (January 24, 2011)With the flu and common colds going around, it's hard enough already to stay healthy during the winter, but a rodent infestation could mean a host of other potential health concerns. Rodents can contaminate food sources with feces that can spread Salmonella and Hantavirus. With rodents invading an estimated 21 million homes every winter, the threat to consumers is very real.

In addition to the contamination they could cause, rodents can also bring other pests into the home, such as lice, fleas, ticks and mites. What's more, mice can cause damage to property by gnawing on wood, walls and wires. The latter could potentially cause house fires if significant damage is done.

"Rodent infestations are cause for concern because not only do they pose risks for your home, but for your family's health and safety as well," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "It is crucial to take steps to prevent rodent infestations and to recognize the signs that you might have one."

NPMA offers the following tips to recognize and avoid rodent infestations this winter:

  • Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks, which may indicate an infestation.
  • Store boxes and containers off of the floor and organize items often to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
  • Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
  • Seal cracks and holes on your home's exterior, including areas where utilities and pipes enter.
  • If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.

For more information or to find a pest professional visit: www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.