What diseases do squirrels carry?
As many other rodents, squirrels are subjected to contracting and
spreading various diseases, out of which some may pose only a slight
discomfort while others can lead to more serious health problems. In
general, squirrels that get in contact with humans in inhabited
areas are rarely sick and dangerous for that matter, however, some
diseases they can contract and carry may pose a health risk to other
animals, humans, and domesticated animals, as well as pets. Here are
some of the most frequent diseases in squirrels.
When it comes to squirrels, people mostly dread of them spreading
rabies. However, squirrels get infected with rabies extremely
rarely, and the symptoms are more than noticeable. A squirrel will
show relatively same symptoms to rabies as other species will.
Sensitivity to light, which will make them hide in the dark, excess
saliva, as well as irritable behavior, are amongst the common
symptoms of the disease. Squirrels may spread rabies to humans
through bites and scratches
It might sound strange, but squirrels can easily become infected and
spread this disease, which includes symptoms like petechial rash,
fever, weakness, and gangrene while some of these rodents don't
necessarily show any symptoms at all. This type of infections occurs
from time to time in the Southwest of the USA, in which authorities
will shut down and isolate the area until the health staff manages
to stop the infection. The disease is transmittable to humans and
treated with antibiotics.
Bacterial and fungal infections
If you encounter a squirrel that seems to be losing a lot of its
hair, particularly growing bald on its back, or notice dark spots on
their skin, chances are that the rodent has some type of a fungal or
bacterial infection. These squirrels need to be treated by a
veterinarian as soon as possible, and these infections can spread to
humans and other animals through physical contact.
Squirrel can get infected with pox through insect bites, and the
disease is called squirrel fibroma. The infected squirrel will
develop visible tumors on its skin, which, in general, is harmless
to them. Only in the case of forming a secondary infection,
squirrels may suffer from internal organ infections and fail.
Tularemia and leptospirosis
These two infections are both transmitted from squirrels to humans,
and may cause liver and kidney failure. Squirrels can get infected
through animal or insect bites, as well as by drinking contaminated
water. Diseases can spread to humans through bites and physical
contact with a corpse of a squirrel.
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