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15th August 2018

New York City Mice Carry Life-Threatening and Dangerous Bacteria, Study Finds!

By Carl Campanile (20/04/18)

A new study in New York City has found that mice carry life-threatening, disease-causing bacteria - and some may be resistant to antibiotics.

 

“Mice are more than just a nuisance - they are a potential source of infections. We used to think of mosquitoes as the source of just an itchy bite, but now we know they carry Zika vrius and West Nile virus,” says Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Researchers collected 416 mice from residential buildings at seven sites across the city. A genetic analysis of their droppings revealed that the mice carry several gastrointestinal bacteria including: C. difficile, E. coli, Shigella and Salmonella, a leading cause of bacterial food poisoning.

Salmonella infections can be the result of food contaminated with animal waste, including mouse faeces. C. difficilie infections are usually acquired in health care settings, but also could be spread in the community by mice carrying the pathogens, researchers said.

“Our study raises the possibility that serious infections - including those resistant to antibiotics - may be passed from these mice to humans, although further research is need to understand how often this happens, if at all,” said research scientist Simon Williams. The findings were published in the scientific journal mBio.

A second study also looked at all the viruses found in mice droppings. Researchers found 36 viruses, including six new ones, though none is known to infect humans. But the same viruses do infect dogs, chickens and pigs.

In an interesting footnote, the study said mice from Chelsea were heavier than mice from other parts of the city and found to carry more viruses. A prior study of rats in New York also found they contained several of the same bacteria - including E. coli, Salmonella, and C. difficile.

“New Yorkers tend to focus on rats because they are larger and we see them scurrying around in streets or subways; however, from a public health vantage point, mice are more worrisome because they live indoors and more likely to contaminate our environment, even if we don’t see them,” said Lipkin, senior author of both papers.

FILED UNDER DISEASES, E. COLI, ILLNESSES, INFECTIONS, RODENTS, SALMONELLA, STUDY SAYS, VIRUSES, ZIKA VIRUS

TRIBUTE: ALPHA SHAW


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