North Dakota Department of Health
The North Dakota Department of Health recommends the following precautions to reduce rodent exposure and to minimize the risk of hantavirus infection:
· Prevent rodents from entering the home by sealing, covering or screening openings larger than one-quarter inch.
· Keep food (including pet food) and water covered and stored in rodent-proof metal or thick plastic. Make sure containers have tight-fitting lids. Clean up spilled food and keep all dishes clean.
· Store garbage inside homes in rodent-proof containers with tight-fitting lids.
· Dispose of trash and clutter in rodent-proof containers elevated at least 12 inches off the ground.
· Place three inches of gravel under the base of mobile homes to discourage rodent burrowing.
· If possible, place woodpiles 100 feet away from the house and elevate woodpiles at least 12 inches above the ground.
If you are cleaning out a rodent-infested cabin or other building, the following guidelines can minimize the risk of infection:
· Before cleaning, ventilate the building, but be sure not to blow dust around.
· Wear coveralls, rubber boots, rubber or plastic gloves, goggles and an appropriate respirator, if needed.
· Trap rodents using spring traps.
· Spray rodents, traps, droppings, nests, foods or other rodent-infested objects with a solution of bleach and water (one and one-half cups bleach to a gallon of water) or a diphenol disinfectant such as Lysol.
· Let the rodent-infested material soak thoroughly, then place it in a plastic bag and seal the bag. Place the sealed bag in another plastic bag and seal the outer bag.
· Burn, bury or place the discarded materials in a sealed garbage can for disposal in a landfill.
· Do not vacuum until all surfaces have been disinfected. Carpets should be commercially cleaned or shampooed.
· Use detergent and water to clean countertops. After drying, they can be wiped down with a household disinfectant.
· Remove furniture that contains inaccessible rodent nests.
For more information, call Larry Shireley, state epidemiologist, North Dakota Department of Health, at 701.328.2694.