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Re: mouse droppings
At Anne Foster's recommendation I contacted the CDC a few weeks ago about
mouse droppings and got the following very helpful reply:
Dear Ms. McCrea
Thank you for your question concerning hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
The length of time that hantaviruses will remain viable in the environment
depends upon the local conditions. Viability for two to three days has been
shown at normal room temperature. Exposure to sunlight will decrease the
time of viability. Freezing temperatures will actually increase the time
that the virus remains viable, especially if not exposed to sunlight.
Our general guidelines, whether old or new droppings/dead rodents, are the
same. Here is a brief explanation of our prevention guidelines:
1. Before cleaning up, make sure that you put on rubber gloves.
2. Don't stir up droppings/nesting materials by sweeping. Instead,
thoroughly wet the materials with a general household disinfectant, or with
a bleach solution (1.5 cups of bleach per gallon of water).
3. Once everything is wet, use a damp towel to remove the materials,
then follow with a mop or sponge using disinfectant.
4. Make sure you completely saturate any rodents and then double bag
them any cleaning materials, and then dispose of.
5. Disinfect your gloves before removing them, then wash your hands
with warm water and soap. If you are wearing any clothing that could
have become contaminated, simply launder as usual with warm water and
If you are concerned about your books, you can do a couple of things. You
need to determine that all of the mice are gone, and if not to then follow
our rodent prrofing techniques to do so. You can then leave the books and
papers in an area free of rodents for about a week. After that time, the
virus should be no longer infectious. Wear rubber gloves and wipe the books
and papers with a cloth moistened with a household disinfectant to get rid
of any mouse droppings. The books can then be reshelved.
If you are going into any areas that have been closed up (attics, storage
sheds, etc), you may want to open them up and let them air out for an hour
or so, before entering to clean.
These guidelines and more detail can be found on our "All About Hantavirus"
web page at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps.index.htm.
I hope I was able to answer your question, please feel free to contact us if
you need further assistance.
Special Pathogens Branch
Donna E. McCrea
Local History Archivist & Librarian
Pikes Peak Library District
Colorado Springs, CO 80863
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