Munson Health
Hantavirus Infection

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by McCoy K

(Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome)



The best way to prevent hantavirus infection is to control rodent infestation in and around your home. This involves sealing rodent entry holes or gaps with steel wool, lath metal, or caulk; trapping rodents using snap traps; and cleaning rodent food sources and nesting sites. In addition, take the following precautions when cleaning rodent-infested areas:
  • Wear rubber, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves.
  • Do not vacuum or sweep the area, since this may cause the virus to get into the air.
  • Wet contaminated areas with a bleach solution (such as 1-½ cups bleach in 1 gallon water) or household disinfectant.
  • When everything is wet, remove contaminated materials with a damp towel before mopping or sponging the area with the bleach solution or disinfectant.
  • Spray dead rodents with disinfectant and double-bag them with all cleaning materials.
  • Properly dispose of dead rodents. Contact your health department for disposal methods.
  • Disinfect gloves with disinfectant or soap and water before taking them off. Then, thoroughly wash hands with soap and water or a waterless alcohol-based rub (such as hand sanitizer) if soap is not available.
It is helpful to be aware of activities that may put you in contact with infected mice, their droppings, and their urine. This may include returning tools to sheds, caring for animals in barns, and sweeping or cleaning building spaces. Farm workers may also be at risk from deer mouse bites. While common house mice have not proven to be major carriers of the virus, deer mice are often found in park areas, even within cities. Follow the precautions above when entering spaces that may be contaminated.


American Lung Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Public Health Agency of Canada



Cline BJ, Carver S, et al. Relationship of human behavior within outbuildings to potential exposure to Sin Nombre virus in Western Montana. Ecohealth. 2010 May 28.

Dizney L, Jones PD, et al. Natural history of Sin Nombre virus infection in deer mice in urban parks in Oregon. J Wildl Dis. 2010 Apr;46(2):433-441.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated September 14, 2012. Accessed January 4, 2013.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: what you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated November 1, 2012. Accessed January 4, 2013.

Mills JN, Amman BR, et al. Ecology of hantaviruses and their hosts in North America. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Aug;10(6):563-574.

Simpson SQ, Spikes L, et al. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2010 Mar;24(1):159-173.


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