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Diseases to Be Aware of Spread by Fall Wildlife

September 10th, 2019

Fall wildlife can be a beautiful sign of the changing seasons, but humans and animals weren’t necessarily meant to interact. Many species of wildlife carry diseases that don’t affect them, but can be transmitted to humans and cause illnesses. These are known as “zoonotic diseases.” Because of these diseases, you want to be careful about feeding wildlife and coming into contact with their droppings. These are some of the most common disease spread by fall wildlife that you will want to be aware of as the seasons change:


This infectious disease is caused by bacteria. It is most commonly found in deer in North Carolina and can be contracted by humans. While it is rare for humans to become sick with Brucellosis, it can cause flu-like symptoms. More severe cases can affect the nervous system and have long-lasting symptoms that recur periodically. The bacteria is commonly transmitted through open wounds, so be sure to clean and cover wounds, especially if you are a hunter who kills and cleans deer meat. Also, be sure to thoroughly cook venison before consuming it.


During the fall and winter, rodents, such as deer mice and house mice, look for warm, dry places to build a nest. This means that they often find their way into homes and leave behind urine, droppings and dirty nesting material. Coming into contact with these can lead to Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which can be deadly. Common symptoms include: muscle aches, fever and shortness of breath. Humans can inhale the virus or contract it through contact with an open wound. That is why it is important to prevent and address rodent infestations in the home. 


Leptospirosis is another bacteria based infectious disease that can be passed from rodents and wildlife to humans. While the animals aren’t affected by carrying this disease, it can cause jaundice, vomiting and a rash in humans. The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but it is usually hard to diagnose because it acts like many other common illnesses. It is transmitted through human contact with bodily fluids. Drinking contaminated water and being submerged in flood waters can also lead to exposure and the bacteria easily enters through wounds and the membranes around the eyes, nose and mouth.  


Any animal can become infected with rabies although in North Carolina, is it most commonly found in raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. The rabies virus is especially deadly because it attacks the central nervous system and the brain, which inevitably leads to death. Humans can become exposed to rabies if they are bitten or they handle the meat of a rabid animal. Fortunately, it is easily treated in humans through post-exposure vaccines. 

If you notice an animal acting aggressive or erratic, it is important to call animal control and have them capture and handle the animal. Also, avoid handling any dead animals you may find in your yard. Animal control can also safely remove any carcasses to help ensure public safety. 

To help prevent exposure to diseases that can be passed onto humans by fall wildlife, call the professionals at Pest Management Systems Inc. We can help you make your home less inviting to invasive wildlife and protect your family. Call us today to learn more and take advantage of our pest and wildlife control services. 

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