What Type Of Disease Does An Opossum Carry?

Opossums carry many different types of illnesses that are contagious to humans. These animals can be quite dangerous to the inexperienced and unprotected. Their feces can make people quite ill and there are also plenty of parasites that help to spread disease carrying organisms.

It is best to keep your distance from opossums and wear protective clothing when cleaning up behind them. Not only to opossums spread illnesses, but the parasites they carry can also infect people and pets. Here’s what you need to know.

Diseases Transmitted by Opossums

Rabies is the most common illness associated with opossums. In reality, only about twenty-five percent of the opossum population caries this disease. However, rabies is life-threatening to humans and it causes a slow, painful death.

Leptospirosis is another illness commonly transmitted by the presence of these animals. The problem with this illness is that early symptoms often mimic other illnesses, causing misdiagnosis and improper treatment. Leptospirosis causes respiratory issues, kidney and liver failure along with a host of other symptoms.

Tularemia is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted by opossums. It causes ulcers, sensitivity to light, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. This is a serious illness that is difficult to diagnose. It is typically treated with antibiotics but may also cause other illnesses.

Some diseases are transmitted through the animal’s feces. One such illness includes toxoplasmosis. This disease presents with symptoms much like those of the flu. There are varying forms of the disease but when transmitted from an opossum, it becomes much more dangerous. This disease can also cause other illnesses, such as encephalitis.

Coccidiosis is another dangerous illness which is spread through contact with opossum feces. Even just walking through the feces can give the se pathogens the chance to work their way into the blood stream. Even household pets are susceptible to this infection which lives in the digestive tract of the host. It can cause various symptoms ranging from dehydration and loss of appetite to bloody stool and worse.

Take Precautions

The illnesses transmitted by opossums can be quite serious and even life-threatening. It is important to take the proper precautions to protect yourself. When cleaning up after or transporting opossums, you should always wear long, thick gloves that protect the forearms. It is also advisable to wear a quality respirator, or facemask, and goggles.

Even if you don’t touch the animal, you should wash well with soap and water when the job is done. Your protective attire will also need to be replaced or sanitized before the next use to ensure safety.

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