A CSU professor has warned that the worst is yet to come with the mice plague.
Associate professor in wildlife health and pathology with the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences Dr Andrew Peters said we should be equally concerned about how we handle and dispose of them.
"We might be a little bit more blasé about it in regional areas," he said.
"In the bush we tend to be a little more chilled out about handling animals and being around animals."
He said what is currently happening is far from a normal situation and compared the mice plague to the spread of COVID.
"It's just like if you are travelling overseas, the more people you contact the more likely you are to get COVID. Well it's the same here," the professor added.
"The way I describe it is being mouse safe, which is kind of like being COVID safe. You just have to switch into that mode where you need to have those barriers where we can prevent that extra risk."
Dr Peters is warning about the dangers of mouse urine and faeces in food, or dead mice contaminating water tanks, potentially proving harmful to the health of people and their pets.
Contact with wild mice can lead to symptoms ranging from nothing to very serious illness, including leptospirosis and salmonella, and hospitalisation.
"As the number goes up there is a high likelihood the risk goes up," he said.
"So if you're seeing large numbers of mice, that's when you should be really weary that your risk is substantially increased, particularly if they are coming into areas where you're eating food."
After months of baiting and trapping mice, residents are still in the process of ridding their properties of the animals.
But those hoping it will all soon be over can think again.
"We know that stress - particularly nutritional stress - is associated with an increased risk of different bile diseases and bacterial diseases. Then those animals are shedding those bacteria and those viruses more," Dr Peters said.
"The big risk period is going to be when the mice population is beginning to crash at the end of the mouse plague, not during this period when it's expanding. It means that the coming months are the months we have to be particularly careful."
Dr Peters said there are precautions people can take if they have contact with wild mice to limit the chance of infection or disease.
These include regular washing of hands, wearing gloves when handling live or dead mice, keeping mice away from food and seeking expert advice on water treatment. He recommends experts in water quality management or the local council should be contacted if it is suspected water tanks might be contaminated.
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