Cleaning mouse droppings… a safety concern?

A customer from Pickering called today to ask if any professional pest control companies offer cleaning of mouse droppings after the mice have been exterminated.  To my knowledge no pest control company in the Toronto area offers this service.  This customer was disgusted by the idea of cleaning the mess left after the mice were exterminated.  She was not really aware of the potential health risks from the droppings and was surprised to hear the preferred cleaning procedure.  Mice – especially deer mice, can carry a viral disease called Hantavirus.  The mice themselves don’t appear to get sick from the virus but if they are affected they will excrete the virus in their droppings and urine.  For humans, the risk of contracting Hantavirus pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) occurs through inhaling air contaminated with the virus.  This usually occurs when the droppings are disturbed by sweeping with a broom or by vacuuming.  Where possible wet the area with water and a household cleaning detergent (many people use bleach), this will keep the dust from being stirred-up into the air.  Most cases of Hantavirus occur in May, likely due to spring cleaning and the re-opening of cottages and trailers.  Fortunately Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is not common, in Canada we typically only have about 3 cases per year. It is a very serious virus with a high mortality rate of 36%.  I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t want to die as a result of a mouse infestation.

  • Clean mouse droppings regularly, fresh droppings are more “moist” and not as likely to crumble and become airborne.
  • Where possible get the droppings wet, use a damp cloth to wipe up or spray with a mixture of detergent and water.  Wet mouse dropping stick well to paper towels!
  • When opening cottages and trailers in the spring open windows and allow fresh air in for about an hour, with all humans remaining outside.

It can’t be emphasized enough that HPS is a rare illness and the risk of contracting it is very low.  We are at a far greater risk of dying in an accident on the way to the cottage than contracting HPS once there.  But, if you have been in an area that’s contaminated with mouse dropping and you later develop flu-like symptoms or have trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Cannon Pest Control provides professional extermination services for: Ajax, Etobicoke, Scarborough, Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Pickering, and Whitby.

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One Response to Cleaning mouse droppings… a safety concern?

  1. Carlotta Canty says:

    Awsome blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more.