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Pests And The Diseases They Spread

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Whether it’s the persistent hum of a mosquito, the unexpected scurrying of something unseen behind a wall, or a midnight encounter with a roach that leaves you questioning what’s going on in your home, pests are an inevitable part of our lives. Now, before you dismiss them as mere annoyances, there’s something you should consider. Insects and rodents can’t just be characterized as nuisance or damaging pests, they might also be disease carriers. In this article, we’ll navigate the world of zoonotic diseases, identify pests that spread disease or cause illness in New Mexico, understand the health risks, and arm readers with prevention tips to keep pests and illness associated with them, away.

west nile virus can be transmitted to humans through mosquito bites

What is a zoonotic disease?

You don’t need a PhD in entomology to understand zoonotic diseases. Simply put, it’s a disease that is caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi, and transmitted between animals and human through direct contact with an infected animal (this includes insects and rodents as well as other wildlife and even domestic animals that have been infected) or through contact with the secretions of said animals. Rabies and the plague are a couple you’re likely familiar with or have at least heard of but there are several more. Read on to learn more about a few important zoonotic diseases in New Mexico that are associated with insects and rodents that infest structures in our region.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

The CDC defines Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) as a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by the infection with hantaviruses.

HPS is transmitted to people by infected rodents (i.e., mice and rats) through urine, droppings, or saliva.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, there were seven documented cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in 2023. Counties affected included San Juan, McKinley, and Taos.


Plague is another serious disease that affects humans and other animals and is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is spread to animals and humans by the bites of infected fleas, direct contact with an infected animal’s blood, or by inhaling infectious droplets expelled by a person or cat with pneumonic plague.

Symptoms vary by type of plague, but it is curable if promptly treated with antibiotics.

In New Mexico, there have not been any reported human plague cases since 2019, when one case of bubonic plague was confirmed in Torrance County, NM. The last case of animal plague was documented in 2019 in Quay County, NM.

West Nile Virus

When mosquitoes feed on infected birds, they become infected with West Nile virus (WNV), and then pass on this mosquito-borne illness when they bite humans and other animals. According to the CDC, West Nile virus is also spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breast feeding.

On their website, the NMDOH reports cases of West Nile virus in New Mexico have been documented every year since 2003, with peak cases in late summer and early fall.

In 2023, there were a total of 88 human WNV cases with the most reported out of Bernalillo County (20). San Juan, Rio Arriba, Taos, Colfax, Union, Los Alamos, Sandoval, Santa Fe, San Miguel, Quay, Curry, Valencia, Torrance, Lincoln, Lea, and Dona Ana also reported cases.  

Illness spread by cockroaches in New Mexico

Cockroaches are a serious pest problem in many homes and businesses in New Mexico and are known vectors for:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Staphylococcus
  • Escherichia coli (E.coli)
  • Gastroentieritis
  • Typhoid fever

It is important to note that not all illnesses occur in New Mexico, only that cockroaches can spread them. For example, typhoid fever is not a huge concern in our state but if you’re planning on traveling, you should certainly check for travel alerts on the CDC’s website.  

Seasonal mosquito control for residents of Albuquerque & New Mexico

In addition to our ongoing pest control services, Greenway Pest Solutions also provides seasonal mosquito control that includes monthly mosquito fogging May through October when these biting pests are most active.

We’ll also install and monitor mosquito trapping stations and treat rain barrels, water troughs, koi ponds, and fishponds using products that won’t cause any harm. While 100% mosquito elimination is not possible, our treatments are designed to drastically reduce the mosquito population.

We also offer interior and exterior flea control!

To prevent fleas from infesting and biting people and pets, Greenway Pest Solutions offers flea control. When you reach out for help getting rid of these biting pests, we will:

  • Inspect your home and property to locate problem areas
  • Develop and implement a customized flea control program
  • Provide interior flea treatments, if necessary
  • Use our foggers to treat grass, bushes, and other flea hotspots
  • Return for a follow-up visit to make sure that your flea treatment was successful

Contact Greenway Pest Solutions if you’d like to learn more about our solutions, or to request a free quote!

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Don't wait until it's too late. Call Greenway Today!

Over 7,000 homes & businesses trust Greenway Pest Solutions to keep pests out - you can too. 

Don't wait until it's too late. Call Greenway Today!

Pest Control Specialist Serving Albuquerque