Rodents, West Nile Virus, Bedbugs and Rabies

Rats and Mice

Rats and mice are well known pests in south-east Michigan. They can cause property damage, contaminate food supplies and transmit diseases. The common house mouse is small. It weighs about 1 ounce and is approximately 6 inches long from the nose to the end of the tail. The Norway rat goes by many names including barn rat, house rat, brown rat or sewer rat. Rats are much larger than mice. They weigh about 12-16 ounces and are about 16 inches long from nose to tail.

Prevention is much easier than dealing with an infestation. Eliminate harborage conditions and access to sources of food and water. Prevent entry of pests by sealing outer openings. A mouse can enter a hole as small as ¼ inch and rats can squeeze through a ½ inch opening.

As of January 1, 2015, all registered consumer use rat and mouse poisons conform to EPA’s 2008 Risk Mitigation Decision. All production of non-compliant rat and mouse poison products ended by December 31, 2014 and the distribution of existing stocks of these products was over by March 31, 2015. Retailers will be permitted to keep the products on the shelves until stocks are depleted, and end users will be permitted to use them until they are gone. The EPA anticipates that the majority will be sold and used within 3 months or less, though small quantities may persist for a year or so.

For information about rats and mice:

Questions and Answers about Mice
Guidelines for Michigan Communities on Developing a Self-Help Rat Control Program

Additional information on rats and mice can be found at:

West Nile Virus / Mosquitoes

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that occurs seasonally in the summer. WNV is generally spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite. Not every mosquito is infected with the virus and most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not develop any symptoms at all. However, a small percentage of people infected with WNV will develop mild to severe symptoms. The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.

For information on West Nile Virus:

West Nile Virus Fact Sheet     •West Nile Virus Fact Sheet Arabic
• West Nile Virus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
• West Nile Virus Mapping
• West Nile Virus FAQ (American Society for Microbiology)

To report dead birds and other wildlife

Additional information on West Nile Virus can be found at:,4579,7-186-25805---,00.html

Information on Mosquitoes



Bed Bugs are small, brownish insects that are visible to the naked eye (approximately 1/8 inch long). They are active at night and feed on the blood of people while they sleep. Not everyone will have a reaction to the bites, but some people will develop red, itchy welts. They are not known to transmit diseases, but are considered a “nuisance” or “vermin”. They are very good hitch-hikers and are generally brought into a home or dwelling in luggage, clothing or used furniture. They can also travel between adjacent apartments or rooms.

For information regarding bedbugs:

• Bed Bug Management Decision Flowchart
• Getting the Bed Bugs Out: A guide to controlling bed bugs in your home
• Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite (English)
• Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite (Spanish)
• Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite (Arabic)
• How to Move and Leave Bed Bugs Behind

Additional information on bedbugs can be found at:

Please note; the Division does not conduct site visits or inspections of residential dwellings.



Rabies is a viral infection that can affect humans and animals. It is spread when the saliva from an infected animal is introduced to another through a bite or a scratch. Prior to the 1960’s, dogs were the most important animal host for the rabies virus in the United States. Now that rabies vaccines are required for domestic animals, wildlife is the most frequently infected animal.

The Wayne County Health Department still accepts wildlife specimens that meet the rabies testing protocol. Domestic animal specimens from veterinary offices or animal clinics will no longer be forwarded to the State Laboratory for rabies testing. Specimens can be shipped directly by these facilities to:
Michigan Department of Community Health – Bureau of Laboratories
3350 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48909-0035
Phone: 517-335-8165 or After Hours: 517-335-9030

For information on rabies:

• Rabies Booklet
• Protocol for mammals which have bitten people
• Protocol for dogs, cats and ferrets possibly exposed to rabies
• Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) protocol for people exposed to mammals

Additional information on rabies can be found at:



Community Wellness - Environmental Health

Maureen Franklin, MPA, REHS/RS
Environmental Health Director
(734) 727-7400
Carol Austerberry, MPA,MS,RS
Division Director & Deputy Health Officer
(734) 727-7045
Environmental Health

Service Assistant

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