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Saturday, April 26 2014
With the possibility of further deaths today in Virginia from the Hantavirus, I thought I should post a blog about this serious issue. If you are considering cleaning out a hoard, or clutter that contains the possibility of rodents, please read this first! About half the homes Steri-Clean and Hoarders.com cleans, have rodents so this threat is real, and is common!
The Hantavirus is from mice and rodents across the world, but how do you know if your home or your loved ones home has rodents with this virus? That is simple...you don't! Hantavirus is an often deadly virus from the Deer Mouse, White Footed Mouse, Cotton Rat, and the Rice Rat. The mortality rate in humans is 38%! This means that almost 4 out of 10 people that contract the virus will die.
The Hantavirus is contagious to humans through rodent feces and urine. We have almost all seen little rodent droppings that look like black rice, haven't we? But did you ever consider, that these tiny things could kill you? Because they certainly can. When our employees clean homes affected with rodent droppings we are in full protective gear, including respirators that are rated N95 or N100 which is the best you can get, and the only thing that will protect your airway from the virus.
How is Hantavirus spread? When tiny particulates from rodent droppings or urine become airborne we can inhale them, delivering the virus straight to our lungs where it can quickly develop into Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, not good. Since this is a virus, there are no medications like antibiotics to counteract it.
How do we prevent this from happening? There are several ways and my first is to hire a professional company that has been trained in biohazards so they not only clean it correctly, minimizing the spread into the air, but also apply the appropriate disinfectant for the appropriate dwell time. Vacuums should not be used to clean rodent droppings unless it is a commercial vacuum containing a heavy duty HEPA filter. This particular type of vacuum is sealed, and the particulates are captured in the filter and now allowed to blow out the exhaust of the vacuum making it airborne. Another method of cleaning rodent droppings are by wetting the droppings with a fine mist of bleach or regular water, then wiping them up. Be sure to wear an N95 or N100 respirator and disposable gloves at minimum.
There are other methods of transmission suspected but they are very uncommon. Touching rodent waste, then touching your eyes, nose, mouth etc. can introduce the virus into your body, giving the virus the host it needs. It is also possible to catch the virus by eating food that rodents have contaminated. If you can afford to hire professional help it is your best option.
Since 1993 when the Hantavirus was discovered there have been hundreds of deaths associated with it. Please consider this threat real and never underestimate the potential hazards when it comes to rodents and specifically rodent waste. It can be a costly mistake. For more information on the Hantavirus, you can contact me at info@HOARDERS.com. Happy cleaning and stay safe!