Can Squirrels Carry Hantavirus?

While some people may find squirrels adorable, they can be carriers of certain dangerous diseases. Hantavirus is a dangerous disease that is spread by rodents. Since squirrels are rodents, people speculate them as potential carriers of Hantavirus. But can squirrels carry Hantavirus or is this a myth?

No, squirrels cannot carry Hantavirus. Although squirrels are rodents, it is just rats and mice which are known carriers of Hantavirus.

Squirrels are not carriers of Hantavirus, contrary to popular belief. However, other rodents like rats and mice are carriers of this disease. Rats and mice can transmit this disease through their urine, faeces, and saliva.

It’s also worth noting that humans cannot spread the Hantavirus. 

Can You Get Diseases from Squirrels?

Squirrels are wild animals which means that they are carriers of dangerous diseases. Any contact with squirrel faeces or saliva can lead you to contract a potential disease.

Squirrels can also become aggressive leading them to scratch or bite you, exposing you to harmful parasites. 

Even though squirrels do not spread Hantavirus, there are other diseases you can get from contacting squirrels. We’ve outlined some of the common ones below:

Leptospirosis 

You can contract this disease from squirrels if you come into contact with their urine, and it comes into contact with any open wounds. The symptoms of this disease are headaches, fever, rashes, and vomiting.

It is best to go to a doctor and get a check-up. If you do not get this disease treated, it can lead to meningitis or kidney failure. The treatment for Leptospirosis is antibiotics. 

Leptospirosis

Lyme Disease

Even if a squirrel does not bite or scratch you, you are still at the risk of contracting dangerous diseases. Lyme disease is one such disease that you can get from squirrels. Squirrels are wild animals and are hosts to external parasites such as ticks that carry the bacteria. 

The bacteria on these ticks are responsible for Lyme disease, which can weaken facial muscles, cause heart palpitations, lead to arthritis, and cause other serious issues. You can tell if you have Lyme disease with symptoms like headaches, skin rash, and fatigue.

Tularemia

For Tularemia, a squirrel does not have to bite or scratch you. However, you can contract this disease if you handle a dead squirrel or a sick one.

Therefore, you must be careful when handling any dead squirrels and try to stay away because there might be some sick ones. The symptoms of Tularemia are headaches, fever, and skin ulcers. 

Rabies

Perhaps the most dangerous disease that people are afraid to contract from wild animals is rabies. Although, it is rare for a squirrel to transmit rabies to humans. However, it is best to know the symptoms and dangers of the disease. 

If a rabid squirrel bites, you may initially experience headache, fever, and weakness. If the disease gets stronger, your symptoms may worsen and lead to paralysis, insomnia, and death. If a squirrel has bitten you, it is important to wash that bite immediately. 

Can Squirrels Transmit Hantavirus?

Rodents are carriers of the Hantavirus and can transmit them to people. Since squirrels are rodents, people believe that they are carriers of the virus and transmit it. However, squirrels do not transmit Hantavirus, unlike other rodents like rats and mice. 

Unfortunately, even though squirrels do not transmit Hantavirus, they do carry other dangerous diseases. Therefore, it is best to maintain a safe distance and avoid squirrel droppings or urine so that you do not contract any disease. 

How To Avoid Squirrel Diseases

While squirrels shy away from people, for the most part, you must still take certain precautions to ensure that you do not contract any diseases. For example, there may be situations where you have to deal with a friendly squirrel, a dead one, or a squirrel infestation. Therefore, you must know how to act in these situations. 

As aforementioned, squirrels tend to run away if you get too close to them. However, if a squirrel feels threatened, it can become aggressive and attack you. It is best to walk away from the squirrel if you feel it getting aggressive in this situation.

There have been instances when you have to deal with dead animals. Hence, if you encounter a dead squirrel, please ensure that you wear gloves when handling it.

If you have a squirrel infestation, you must also wear gloves to avoid touching them. If the infestation is serious, it is best to call a professional to your home to deal with the problem.

Summary 

The Hantavirus is a dangerous disease that rodents carry. Since squirrels are rodents, many people believe that they are carriers of the virus. However, squirrels do not carry the virus, nor do they transmit them ahead.

On the other hand, rats and mice are carriers of the virus and transmit it. 

Even if squirrels do not have the virus, other dangerous diseases they carry and can transmit to humans. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you take the necessary precautions to avoid contact with squirrels.

You can contract diseases by getting bit, scratched, through fleas, and contacting blood or urine. Therefore, it is best to wear gloves, seal entry points to the house and call a professional to get rid of an infestation.

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