Over the past few decades, human encroachment into wild habitats has been rising to cater to the growing human population. Consequently, there’s been an increase in human-wildlife interactions – from raccoons living in the attic to snakes residing under the basement to bats roosting in the chimney. Have you spotted a dead animal? Find out if dead animals carry diseases at deadanimalremoval.org.
Wild animals carry several zoonotic diseases, meaning diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Even dead animals pose severe health risks. In this post, we share the five most common diseases caused by wildlife.
This is arguably the most common viral disease caused by wildlife. Rabies causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. In the United States, rabies is mainly found in wild animals like raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks. This disease can be transferred to people and pets if they are scratched or bitten by a rabid animal.
Early symptoms of rabies are similar to the flu – general weakness, fever, or headache. Symptoms can devolve into hallucinations, abnormal behavior, and insomnia in later stages. If left untreated, rabies can be fatal. But thankfully, there are vaccines to deal with this dangerous disease.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by the bacteria of the genus Leptospira. This bacteria is spread through the urine and feces of infected animals, which can get into the soil and survive for months. Animals like rodents, raccoons, dogs, etc., can potentially spread leptospirosis.
Initial symptoms of leptospirosis in humans include severe headache, fever, chills, sore muscles, red eyes, and vomiting. If left untreated, leptospirosis can cause kidney damage, meningitis, respiratory diseases, liver failure, and death.
Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Histoplasma. This fungus thrives in an environment or soil with high amounts of bird or bat droppings. When the accumulated droppings are disturbed, the fungal spores become airborne and can be inhaled by humans.
Early symptoms of histoplasmosis include cough, fever, chills, headache, body aches, and chest pain. Without treatment, histoplasmosis can seriously impact the lungs and cause pneumonia. It can also affect other parts of the body and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to death. That’s why it’s crucial to stay clear of accumulated bird or bat droppings.
Tularemia is a rare infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. This disease mainly affects hares, rodents, and rabbits but can be transmitted to humans. People typically become infected through the bite of infected insects (mainly deer flies and ticks), drinking contaminated water, inhaling airborne bacteria, or handling sick or dead animals.
Possible symptoms of tularemia in humans include skin ulcers, inflamed eyes, mouth sores, swollen and painful lymph glands, diarrhea, or pneumonia.
- Rat-bite fever
Rat-bite fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Streptobacillus moniliformis in North America. It is transmitted through bites or scratches from rodents carrying the bacteria. Any contact of the bodily fluid (like saliva, urine, or droppings) of an infected animal with open skin or mucous membrane of humans may result in transmission.
Common symptoms include vomiting, fever, muscle pain, headache, joint pain, and rash. Thankfully, rat-bite fever is treatable. To avoid the risk of rat-bite fever, contact professional rodent removal companies like Woodland Wildlife Texas when dealing with nuisance rats and mice.
Wild animals carry a host of diseases dangerous to humans. Other examples of such diseases include white-nose syndrome, avian pox, canine distemper, mange, raccoon roundworm, and more. That’s why it’s crucial to avoid direct contact with wildlife. Also, please stay away from dead animals because they may pose severe health risks.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.