As with most wild animals opossums do carry several diseases that could be harmful to humans. According to experts these include toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, and Chagas disease. According to experts they may also carry Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), a disease that affects horses.
For homeowners with pets, opossums may prove especially troublesome. Not only will they feed on pet food left outside, they have been known to fight with dogs and cats. With fifty teeth and sharp claws, this has left the family pet with injuries requiring a potentially expensive trip to the veterinarian's office. Opossums are also hosts for the fleas and ticks commonly found on house pets, too.
On the other hand, opossums have such a varied diet that they have been coined "Nature's Little Sanitation Engineer" which can be quite beneficial to our yards, gardens and neighborhoods. Not only do they eat the rotting overripe apples laying on the ground keeping the area clean and the bee populations manageable, they eat nuisance pests such as mice and voles and cockroaches and leaf destroying beetles!
North America's only marsupial is surviving very successfully living in and around human habitats. Don't be surprised if your yard becomes home to the strange, albeit, cute marsupial the Virginia Opossum.