Do Opossums Carry Diseases?
Opossums also known as possums are common wild animals that can be found in many parts of the United States. These nocturnal creatures are known for their scavenging behavior their ability to play dead when threatened. However many people are concerned about the health risks associated with opossums including the possibility of disease transmission. In this article we will explore whether or not opossums carry diseases what precautions you should take if you come into contact with one.
Common Diseases Carried by Opossums
Opossums are not considered to be a significant source of disease transmission to humans or other animals. However they can carry certain diseases including:
- Typhus: Opossums can carry the flea-borne bacteria that causes typhus a disease that can cause fever body aches other symptoms.
- Leptospirosis: Opossums can carry the bacteria that causes leptospirosis a disease that can cause fever headache muscle aches. In rare cases it can lead to kidney failure.
- Tuberculosis: Opossums can carry Mycobacterium tuberculosis the bacteria that causes tuberculosis in humans. However this is a very rare occurrence.
It is important to note that the risk of contracting these diseases from an opossum is very low. In most cases direct contact with an infected opossum or its urine or feces would be required to contract a disease.
Precautions to Take When Dealing with Opossums
If you come into contact with an opossum or its feces or urine it is important to take precautions to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Here are some tips:
- Wear gloves a mask when handling an opossum or cleaning up its waste.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap water after handling an opossum or any materials it has come into contact with.
- Do not try to handle an opossum without proper training or equipment. Opossums can be unpredictable may bite or scratch when frightened or threatened.
- If you suspect that an opossum on your property is sick or injured contact your local wildlife control agency for assistance. Do not attempt to capture or handle the animal yourself.
Opossums are not a significant source of disease transmission but they can carry certain diseases that can be transmitted to humans or other animals. By taking precautions when handling opossums or their waste you can reduce the risk of disease transmission stay safe. If you have concerns about an opossum on your property contact your local wildlife control agency for assistance.
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