HazardsHanta Virus

Hanta Virus

QUICK TIPS: Especially if you live west of the Mississippi, if rodents get in your nestboxes, avoid breathing in droppings, urine or saliva, decon the box, and prevent future use by mice and roof rats.
hanta virus, wikipedia photo

Deer mice and several other common mouse species can carry Hantavirus Four Corners virus (Orthohantavirus), which can cause a rare but deadly pulmonary syndrome. Breathing in airborne particles contaminated with rodent droppings, urine or saliva can cause infection. The virus in droppings can remain active for a couple of days at normal room temperature.

Even though it’s rare, about a third of reported cases result in death! The onset of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), also known as hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) begins with a flu-like illness. It can also cause hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS.)  Cases have been reported in 36 states in the U.S., but the vast majority (96%+) are in states west of the Mississippi River, including New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, Washington, Texas, Montana, Utah, Idaho and Oregon.


  • Before removing a mouse nest, use a spray bottle to thoroughly soak the nest and box (to control dust) with a 10% bleach solution (water if no bleach is available).
  • After 15-20 minutes, while standing upwind/wearing a mask, use gloves or a plastic bag to remove the nest, and then sweep and scrape out the box.
  • Wash your hands afterwards.
  • Leave the box open for a day to air it out.
  • Deter mice and rats from using the box again.

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