Opossums are common in many places of North America due to their distinguishing appearance and habit. These marsupials have adapted admirably to urban and suburban areas, frequently sharing our streets and backyards. While these critters play an important role in managing bug populations and reducing the transmission of some diseases, opossum-carried diseases can potentially put humans in danger. In this post, we’ll look at some of the diseases transmitted by opossums and learn how to avoid them.
These critters can carry and transmit the bacterial pathogen leptospirosis through their urine. Infected urine can remain for weeks or even months after contaminating water or soil. When humans or other wildlife come into contact with contaminated water, soil, or food, they can become infected. Human leptospirosis symptoms include fever, muscle pains, jaundice, and kidney issues. Proper hygiene, such as removing opossum feces and urine from the area, can help lower the likelihood of transmission.
Opossums carry and shed bacteria in their feces, including the salmonella bacteria. In humans, Salmonella infection can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pains, and fever. To reduce the danger of Salmonella transmission, it is critical to adopt good hygiene while handling opossums or their droppings.
While opossums are less likely to carry and spread rabies than other wildlife species, they can nevertheless become infected with the virus. Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transferred through an infected critter’s bite or saliva. To limit potential transmission, avoid contacting or handling any wildlife, including opossums.
Lyme Disease and RMSF
Opossums are known to host ticks and fleas, which can transmit various diseases to both humans. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) are two examples. Symptoms for both these diseases include fever, flu-like symptoms, rashes, joint discomfort, and can affect the body’s nervous system. It is imperative to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any Lyme or RMSF related symptoms. Keeping opossums away from your property can help lessen the danger of these diseases.
Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection that can be transferred to humans by the bite of an infected tick, which opossums might have. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe and include fever, lack of energy, muscle aches, and joint discomfort. Tick exposure can be reduced by keeping opossums away from your home and using tick repellents.
Consider the following preventive measures to reduce the risks connected with diseases transmitted by opossums:
- Secure Trash Cans: Because opossums are drawn to rubbish, making use of lockable trash cans with lids can keep them from searching through your trash.
- Seal Entry Points: Seal any cracks or gaps in and around your home to keep opossums out of your attic, basement, or crawl space.
- Remove Attractants: To limit opossum food sources, avoid leaving food outside and pick up fallen fruits or vegetables from your garden.
- Practice Good Hygiene: After handling opossums, their droppings, or other contaminated surfaces, thoroughly rinse your hands.
- Seek Professional Help: If you suspect an opossum infestation or come across a sick or injured opossum, seek help from local wildlife professionals or wildlife control authorities.
While opossum-carried diseases can be dangerous to humans, the odds of transmission can be greatly minimized by taking necessary precautions and practicing excellent hygiene. Opossums also contribute to the improvement of the environment by aiding in the management of bug populations and cleaning up carrion. We can coexist with these intriguing marsupials while limiting disease transmission if we understand the potential risks and take proper precautions.
Are you in need of opossum removal? Our friendly operators at Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife Control are available now at (817) 606-7607. Find out more about our wildlife removal in Arlington and Fort Worth, TX.