Spring cleaning health concerns: Hantavirus prevention tips

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Before you get out your spring cleaning checklist, there are some safety precautions you must check off first.

The hantavirus could be settled in your barn or closed off area during the winter months.

Hantavirus is contracted when the dust particles of dried droppings from an infected rodent are inhaled.

The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is carried by several types of rodents, particularly the deer mouse. This prevention of this virus can be done by cleaning gout cabins, sheds, and barns or other outbuildings properly.

Cleaning tips:

  • Open all doors and windows; Leave them open for 30 minutes before cleaning
  • Wear rubber or plastic gloves.
  • Clean up all rodent urine, droppings, nest, or dead mice or rates by using a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water.
  • Mop floors or spray dirt floors with a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water.

“Not every mouse or rat that can carry this, deer mice are an example of one, but even not all deer mice carry it either, make sure you have dust mask because it will be a little dusty in there,” said Kaitlyn Lance, Agriculture Educator for the La Crosse County Extension Office.

Experts said wearing a dust mask can help prevent inhalation of the rodent dropping and other allergens. They also add to never sweep or vacuum up the droppings.

There have been five confirmed hantavirus cases reported in Wisconsin since 2000. These illnesses occurred in people residing in Western, Southeastern, Northeastern parts of the state. The latest hantavirus case was in 2017.

Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford

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