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Hantavirus FAQ

Yosemite Deaths Raise Questions About Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

How can I protect myself against hantavirus infection? continued...

Despite our best efforts, rodents sometimes get into our houses and storage areas.

Before cleaning up, trap the rodents and seal the holes where they got in. Put on rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves and spray dead rodents with disinfectant or bleach solution. Let the disinfectant soak in for five minutes, then wrap the dead rodent in a paper towel or rag and put it in a plastic bag. Seal tightly, put in a second bag and seal it, then throw the bag in a covered trashcan.

When the traps have been untouched for a week, it's time to clean up.

The CDC suggests that after a week, virus in the rodent droppings, urine, and nesting materials should no longer be infectious. But don't take that for granted.

When cleaning up after a rodent infestation, the most important thing is NOT to create dust. DO NOT sweep or vacuum up rodent droppings.

Follow these steps:

  • Put on rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves.
  • Wet the droppings, urine, and nesting materials with a spray disinfectant. The CDC recommends one part bleach to nine parts water.
  • Let the disinfectant soak in for five minutes.
  • Use a paper towel to pick up the droppings and other waste. Put it in the garbage.
  • After removing the droppings and nesting materials, spray down any items rodents might have contaminated.
  • Mop the floors and clean countertops with disinfectant.
  • Steam-clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and carpets where rodents have been.
  • Wash any bedding or clothing that might have been exposed to rodents or their droppings/urine with laundry detergent in hot water.
  • Remove the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.

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