After the devastating mouse plague where a lot of farmers and even residents suffered, a new virus has been detected which is called Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis. Forgive us whilst we use some technical language here.
According to OMICS, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease that presents as aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the membrane, or meninges, that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the brain and meninges). Its causative agent is the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a member of the family Arenaviridae that was initially isolated in 1933.
Staff from the Darling Downs Public Health Unit had recorded a significant increase in patients presenting with symptoms similar to meningitis, as stated in an article from The Chronicle. It has been said that this virus spreads from mice to humans. Infected persons will experience fever, malaise, lack of appetite, muscle aches, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
So how do we protect ourselves and our home?
HealthDirect Australia provided tips on how to keep your family and property safe.
In the house
- Store food in the pantry in sealed containers.
- Throw out food scraps straight away — including pet food — and wipe down kitchen and dining surfaces. Ensure rubbish bins have tight-fitting lids and are emptied regularly.
- Throw away any food or drinks that may have had contact with mice.
- Wash cookware and cutlery in very warm water with detergent before use. Wash your hands well before preparing food or eating.
- Block access points to the pantry and any cupboards containing food-preparation utensils.
- Cover floor vents with wire mesh no coarser than 1 millimetre and check these regularly.
- Seal any holes or access points in the house.
- Clean out storage areas and get rid of unwanted items.
- Wear shoes or slippers in the house and don’t lie or sleep in areas where mice have been active.
- If you’re bitten by a mouse or rat, immediately clean the wound with soap and water and seek medical advice
Outside the house
- Clean out sheds and storage areas and get rid of unwanted items.
- Keep stacked building materials, such as timber or bricks, at least 30 centimetres (a ruler length) off the ground to prevent mice from nesting there.
- Remove any overgrown foliage — such as grass, trees, bushes and creeping plants — that might give mice access to your roof.
- Store firewood away from the sides of sheds and fences, and off the ground if possible.
On the farm
- Clean up fallen fruit, seed and waste from aviaries and chicken pens, and muck out animal faeces regularly.
- Remove fruit and nuts from trees or vines at the end of the season.
- Store animal fodder, such as poultry food and bird seed, in containers with tight-fitting lids, if possible.
- Avoid having open compost heaps and don’t compost any animal products, such as fish, meat, chicken or dairy.
- Cover rainwater-tank openings with wire mesh no coarser than 1 millimetre and check these regularly.
- Keep your property clear of rubbish.
- Seal any holes and access points to all buildings.
Also, wear protective clothing such as wearing masks and gloves when handling mice and frequently check drinking water tanks for signs of rodents. Also, people are urged to take routine maintenance on water tanks or rainwater storage to ensure cleanliness.
Current Situation of Mouse Plague in Australia
As of August 2021, there are only a few parts in Australia that are still affected by the mouse plague compared to last May 2021.
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