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4 Pests That Carry Deadly Diseases

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Overall, health and wellness mean protecting yourself from avoidable harm. It means taking the time to eat healthy and exercise, but also to prevent the contraction of diseases. By understanding the dangers of rodents and insects and the harm they can cause, you can increase your quality of life and reduce your risk of getting sick.

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To increase prevention efforts and protect yourself from bodily harm, be wary of the following insects and the resulting illnesses.

Bed Bugs, Lice, and Fleas

We’ll group bed bugs, lice, and fleas together because they’re all insects that feed on warm bodies and can be found in the home. In any scenario, these bugs have the potential to make humans sick if they aren’t dealt with. Some possible diseases include:

  • Chaga disease
  • Bartonellosis
  • Borreliosis
  • Typhus
  • Plague

These insects are usually brought into your home by pets or through contact with others who have them at home. Extermination of these insects is very important for your health and safety. Lice can be handled with a special shampoo used regularly for two weeks.

Fleas and bedbugs will need to be professionally removed. If you live in an apartment complex, contact your landlord immediately about eliminating the pest problem. If the problem is in your house, call an exterminator as soon as possible.

Mosquitos

There are many reasons why you don’t want to get bitten by a mosquito, aside from the skin irritation. Different species of mosquitos can carry diseases including:

  • Malaria
  • Chikungunya virus
  • Dengue fever
  • Yellow fever
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • West Nile virus
  • Zika virus

Zika is a recent threat that has been linked to causing microcephaly (shrunken head syndrome) in unborn fetuses. Those who are pregnant should take extra precautions in areas where mosquitos are prevalent.

Ticks

A tick is an insect that will latch onto your skin and suck your blood. It will bury its small head into the vein, possibly transmitting any diseases it might be carrying. The most common disease ticks carry is Lyme disease, which can attack your brain, nervous system, muscles, and the heart. It’s curable but can cause some serious issues.
Other diseases ticks can carry include:

  • Tick-borne relapsing fever
  • Q fever
  • Tick-borne spotted fevers
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Tularemia

Because the tick is very small, most people don’t notice when they have one. Ticks live in grassland areas, typically in dry climates. If you’ve spent a lot of time in an area that matches this description, it’s important to thoroughly examine your body for ticks. If you find one, don’t try to pull it out yourself. Have a doctor remove it to avoid parts of the insect breaking off in your body and causing infection.

Rodents

Rats, mice, raccoons, and other rodents are known for carrying diseases that can be contracted. Here’s a list of illnesses rodents can carry, according to the CDC:

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  • Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (most common in rats)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
  • Lassa fever
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis
  • Plague
  • Tularemia

Any time you’re bitten by a rodent, you should visit your physician right away. It could be several days or even weeks before you begin exhibiting symptoms for some of these illnesses, and early detection is key to a speedy recovery.

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