Keeping rodents out of your home and workplace can help reduce your risk of hantavirus infection. Try these tips:

  • Block access. Mice can squeeze through holes as small as 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) wide. Seal holes with wire screening, metal flashing or cement.
  • Close the food buffet. Wash dishes promptly, clean counters and floors, and store your food — including pet food — in rodent-proof containers. Use tight-fitting lids on garbage cans.
  • Reduce nesting material. Clear brush, grass and junk away from the building's foundation.
  • Set traps. Spring-loaded traps should be set along baseboards. Exercise caution while using poison-bait traps, as the poison also can harm people and pets.

Safe cleanup procedures

Wet down dead rodents and areas where rodents have been with alcohol, household disinfectants or bleach. This kills the virus and helps prevent infected dust from being stirred up into the air. Once everything is wet, use a damp towel to pick up the contaminated material. Then mop or sponge the area with disinfectant.

Take special precautions, such as wearing a respirator, when cleaning buildings with heavy rodent infestations.

Jan. 02, 2014