Prevention of a hantavirus infection

Learn how to prevent being infected by a hantavirus.

How can a hantavirus infection be prevented?

There is no vaccine for hantavirus infection. The key to disease prevention is:

  • preventing rodent infestations
  • properly cleaning and disinfecting areas contaminated by rodent droppings

Keep your home, workplace, cottage or campsite rodent-free. All rodent droppings are potentially harmful. You should:

  • block openings that might let rodents in
  • store food, water and garbage in containers with tightly fitted lids
  • place mousetraps throughout buildings
  • keep your yard clean
  • stack woodpiles away from buildings

Properly clean and disinfect areas contaminated by rodent droppings. Follow the steps below.

  1. Wear rubber or plastic gloves. If you are cleaning in a confined space, wear a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtered respirator.
  2. Do not sweep or vacuum rodent droppings. This will release particles into the air, which you could then breathe in.
  3. Spray droppings with a household disinfectant or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Let the area soak for 10 minutes to make sure any virus within the droppings will be killed.
  4. Wipe up wet droppings with paper towels or a wet mop if dealing with a large area. 
  5. Wash gloves in disinfectant and hot soapy water before taking them off.  Afterwards, wash your hands thoroughly.
  6. If a wet mop was used to clean the area, use disinfectant and hot soapy water to clean the mop.

Know the symptoms of a hantavirus infection. See a health care provider immediately if they develop.

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