New Yorkers share their city with 8.5 millions other humans. There are also seemingly endless pests that can be found on Park Avenue and Coney Island, such as the house mouse.
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New research has shown that these furry animals can transmit bacteria to humans, causing abdominal pain and gastrointestinal distress.
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Researchers have previously found that the common house mouse (also known as Mus musculus in scientific terms) is present in all regions of the globe, except Antarctica. As they burrow into houses, house mice are known to transmit bacteria.
This is the first study to examine house mice and the bacterial strains they have, as well as their resistance to antibiotics in large urban centers.
Simon H. Williams (BSc), the lead author, found many gastrointestinal diseases-causing agents in his 416 mice captured in New York City. He and his team also discovered Shigella, Clostridium difficile (C.diff), Shigella and diarrhea-causing Escherichia coli.
Williams released a statement saying that house mice are constantly invading apartments in New York City, from tiny studios to penthouses. “Our study suggests that these mice could transmit serious infections, including antibiotic-resistant, to humans. However, further research is required to determine how often it happens, if ever.”
There were total 416 mice captured at seven locations in New York City. This includes the Bronx and Manhattan boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens. Most of the mice were caught around five trash compactor rooms. The remaining mice were found in the kitchen or food storage area of a commercial building, and one private residence.
After being weighed, the mice were checked for gender and length. This indirect indicator of age was used to determine their age. The mice were then collected from their mouths and taken for analysis.
Salmonella enterica was found in mice. It is the most common cause of food poisoning in the United States. This bacterium can cause many different syndromes but it is most often associated with enterocolitis, typhoid and diarrhea.
The microbiome is shared
Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dr. William Schaffner said that the study showed that “we share our microbiome (the microbial population) with our fellow creatures.”
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Schaffner stated that it is worrying that antibiotic-resistant bacteria has developed in animals that have not been treated with drugs.
It’s not surprising that mice could be carrying the same germs as us if they were to be tested. He said that the only thing that has surprised everyone is that they don’t treat wild mice with antibiotics. They are not given antibiotics, but they can be resistant to certain bacteria.
According to the study authors, more research is needed to determine the true role of house mice in human disease transmission.
“It is clear that humans have created antibiotics for ourselves and our animals. Schaffner stated that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is now capable of spreading to unintended targets.
Schaffner stated that the study shows how crucial it is to reduce antibiotic use in order to prevent antibiotic-resistant bacteria from developing and spreading.