A hotel owner in Central West NSW has been left fighting for his life after he caught a virus from the ongoing mouse plague continuing to cripple the region.
Trevor Hardie, 70, from Dunedoo, told The Daily Telegraph he began to feel sick in April and thought he had coronavirus.
One week later, he was rushed to hospital in an ambulance while suffering from acute kidney failure, liver failure and a leaky heart valve.
It was there that it was revealed he had caught leptospirosis.
“I couldn’t walk, I’d sweat all night, my kidneys and liver packed it in … it was the sickest I’d ever felt in my life, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” Mr Hardie said.
Leptospirosis is a disease spread from animals to humans through the bacteria Leptospira, according to Victoria’s Department of Health.
The bacteria can be found in mouse urine.
It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, cough and sore throat, and more severely meningitis, heart disease and liver failure.
Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon told the publication the virus is “an extra disadvantage” of having the mouse plague.
He said the best way to avoid it in areas affected by the plague is to practise good hygiene and wear a face mask if possible.
Mr Hardie has warned others to be vigilant and take care of themselves.
“Everybody’s doing their bit and battling hard in the bush, we’re making sure houses and shops are clean, our guests are OK, but people need to be careful,” Mr Hardie said.
“All it takes is to have [mice] scurrying around in a shed, grain silo, or a home, they pee everywhere and you touch it somehow … it knocked me off my feet for weeks.”
The 70-year-old is currently recovering at home.
Mouse plague to 'cost farmers $1 billion'
NSW Farmers say the out-of-control mouse plague will cut the value of the state's winter crop by one billion dollars as the eight-month long scourge continues to worsen.
The government-funded Mouse Alert website indicates sightings have doubled since March, with a growing number of mice being sighted in and around Sydney.
NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin says farmers were abandoning some paddocks and couldn't defer sowing winter crops any longer, while researchers warn that "without a concerted baiting effort in the next few weeks this could easily turn into a two year plague event".
The $50 million NSW government assistance package announced last week isn't helping.
"The state government's assistance package is impractical, dysfunctional and weeks away, which is not helping farmers who need support right now to drive mouse numbers down and break this horrible unrelenting cycle," he said on Wednesday.
"After more than eight months of battling growing mouse numbers farmers are still waiting for state government assistance to hit the ground and offer some practical support to our farming community.”
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