What Diseases Can Squirrels Transmit to Humans?
Since squirrels rarely bite unless they've been cornered or feel threatened, the pests are typically able to coexist with humans with little issue. However, they do carry and transmit a handful of diseases, which makes their presence undesirable and occasionally dangerous:
- Salmonellosis - Salmonella bacteria found in their droppings causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
- Lyme disease - spread by the ticks squirrels carry and symptoms include nerve pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
- Tularemia - an unpleasant condition that brings about swollen lymph nodes and ulcers.
- Leptospirosis - symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, jaundice, and rash.
- Rabies - though rare, sometimes squirrels pass this virus onto humans via biting or scratching.
Additionally, squirrels may act as hosts for ticks and other pests, which contributes to the spread of Lyme disease. Since many of these diseases are fatal when left untreated, individuals should monitor for symptoms and seek medical attention after coming in contact with squirrel urine and feces as breathing in particles of the animal's excrement is the most common method of disease transmission.
The best way to prevent the spread of disease is to avoid contact with squirrels and their waste, and wearing gloves and masks helps reduce the possibility of contracting illnesses.
Get Professional Help
If infected squirrels appear in residential areas, contacting professional wildlife removal services is recommended. As diseases can be transferred via urine, feces, scratches, and bites, untrained individuals should never approach or handle squirrels. Professional technicians can remove problematic animals and sanitize homes to ensure the safety of all nearby individuals.
Learn more about squirrel removal.