It’s that time of the year when people are getting ready to open cabins and sheds and run the risk of being exposed to hantavirus. Here are some basic things you can do to help prevent infection.
Keep mice and other rodents out of your house
- Seal all openings into your home that are greater than 1/4 inch.
- Keep all weeds, woodpiles, and garbage at least 100 feet from your home.
- Keep all food, including pet food, in rodent proof containers.
- Keep kitchens and food preparation areas clean
Trap all mice within your home
- Remember to wear gloves while handling mice.
- Use snap traps to trap and kill mice.
- Spray mice and trap with disinfectant. Spray the mice, nests, urine and droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water and let soak 5 minutes. The recommended concentration of bleach solution is 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
- Place rodent in a double plastic bag for disposal.
- Leave several baited spring loaded traps inside the house at all times.
Clean up after mice
- Wear rubber gloves while cleaning.
- Air out area for 30 minutes.
- Do not create dust by sweeping or vacuuming.
- Spray rodent droppings and nests with disinfectant. Spray the mice, nests, urine and droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water and let soak 5 minutes. The recommended concentration of bleach solution is 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
- Place rodent droppings, nests, and other contaminated items in double bag for disposal.
- Wash gloved hands in a general household disinfectant and then in soap and water.
- Wash bare hands after removing gloves.
Professional persons involved in the clean-up should wear:
- coveralls (disposable, if possible);
- rubber boots or disposable shoe covers;
- rubber, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves;
- protective goggles;
- appropriate respiratory protection device, such as a half-mask air-purifying (or negative-pressure) respirator with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) with HEPA filters.
- Personal protective gear should be decontaminated upon removal at the end of the day. All potentially infective waste material (including respirator filters) from clean-up operations that cannot be burned or deep buried on site should be double bagged in appropriate plastic bags. The bagged material should then be labeled as infectious (if it is to be transported) and disposed of in accordance with local requirements for infectious waste.
updated 3/10/06 JS