Leptospirosis: How Mice Can Be Deadly

70-year-old Trevor Hardie from New South Wales is recovering after almost losing his life to leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that is spread through the urine of mice. He’s not the only one who has been impacted by this infection recently; there has been a 700% increase in cases this year alone. Rural areas in Australia are seeing hoards and hoards of mice, many of which carry the disease. An article published in The Daily Mail details Hardie’s experience and the rising problem of leptospirosis.

Trevor’s Story

The hotel owner thought he had the flu or COVID-19 when he first began experiencing symptoms. He was knocked off his feet, explaining it as “the sickest [he’d] ever felt in [his] life.” After initially writing off his symptoms, he ended up at Wollongong Hospital for five nights. Doctors told him that he was dealing with a leaky heart, acute kidney failure, and liver failure.

This all started back in April, and Hardie is still trying to get back on his feet months later. He doesn’t want anyone else to deal with what he endured, so he has issued a warning to those living in rural areas. People should ensure that their homes and other spaces are consistently clean. It only takes a mouse scurrying through and relieving itself to spread the infection.

Look Out for Leptospirosis

42 cases of leptospirosis have been recorded this year, which can be compared to only six in the previous year. The bacterial infection can impact both humans and animals, and it is spread through contaminated soil, mud, or water, along with food or water that has been spoiled with an infected animal’s urine.

Due to the sudden rise in cases and mice, experts are advising that those in rural areas are extremely careful. Simple things like wearing a mask to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth and regularly washing your hands are good ways to protect yourself from the bacterial infection. These are very important, especially as the mouse plague does not look like it is slowing down any time soon. In fact, experts warn that it could go on for two years without intervention.

Farmers, pest hunters, and others are concerned about the growing number of mice and the effect they could have. They say that the mice will soon make their way to urban centers as well, hitching rides on trucks and inviting themselves into people’s homes during winter months. Without intervention, these mice are going to become a very large problem.

Australians are calling for help from the government; they need immediate relief. The mice have already wreaked havoc along the coast, doing millions in damage. If nothing is done to stop them, it’s only going to get worse.

About Leptospirosis

The bacterial infection leptospirosis is the result of a bacteria from the genus Leptospira, and it can infect both humans and animals. It is spread through animal urine, which can also infect soil and water, where it lives for months at a time. The bacteria can enter through mucous membranes, ingestion, or the skin. Transmission between humans is rare.

In terms of symptoms, this infection can result in a wide variety of effects, and some individuals experience no symptoms at all. If they do, the signs can begin anywhere from two days to four weeks after exposure. It can also occur in two phases, where the first begins abruptly and is marked by flu-like symptoms, and the second is much more severe, with effects like kidney or liver failure. Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Muscle aches
  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to more than three weeks. Complications such as liver failure, kidney failure, cardiac complications, and meningitis are also possible. Without treatment, it could take several months to fully recover, or the disease could be fatal. Treatment consists of antibiotics. Find more on leptospirosis with the CDC.

Find the source article here.

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