hantavirus mouse in car

  • 5 min read
  • Feb 14, 2020

Rodents, your car, and hantavirus: What to do if you suspect ...
Rodents, your car, and hantavirus: What to do if you suspect …

official insight of Public Health – Seattle & King County staff

Here at, we’ve talked with Dr. Meagan Kay, Medical Epidemiologist, about which we have in King County over the last few months.

Meagan, what hantavirus?

hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare disease but sometimes deadly that people can get to breathe in hantavirus contained in deer mice feces or urine. This can happen when people inhaling dust from dried deer mice urine, saliva, and feces containing hantavirus and get stirred up into the air. This includes exposure to deer mice nests or droppings in homes and cabins, as well as the car, trailer, or mobile home where rodents live. People can also be infected when they touch the deer mice urine, droppings, or nesting material that contains a virus.

Three people in King County recently fell ill with hantavirus, so we want to remind people that the deer mice in the area can carry the virus. That is why we are urging people who live in areas where deer mice were found to check their cars rodent signs, and if they find, to disinfect and remove dirt or nesting material.

Where rodents nesting in the car?

Rodents nesting in various places in the car (and campers and trucks), which is a potential risk for anyone who uses the vehicle. They are more likely to nest in the car that are not used very often, but they can go into any vehicle. Hive could be anywhere in the engine compartment, including in the areas under the windshield wiper, between the battery and frame, air filter machine and near or on the hose filter and duct air intake system of the passenger compartment of vehicles (ventilation, heating and air conditioning), including cabin air filter compartment. In other areas of the car, rodents might nest in the trunk and in the spare tire compartment, the entire passenger compartment, and inside the tailgate and the lamp enclosure. Rodents in through holes rust, ventilation and ducting.

What should I wear when I was getting ready to check my vehicle for rodent droppings and nests, and what equipment and materials do I need to clean up what I found?

Wear disposable plastic gloves and long-sleeve shirt. If you have evidence of rats nesting in your vehicle, you will want to have a bleach solution that is 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. You can also use a commercial disinfectant. Have a paper towel and trash bags ready as well.

Should I wear a mask?

A mask is not necessary if the infestation is not widespread. For extensive infestation with piles of dirt or many nests or dead mice this, special precautions are recommended. In this case, consult a professional mechanic or automotive eligible for assistance. Additional detailed instructions on hantavirus prevention of infestation can be found in this area

What should I do first

Move vehicle into the open air -.? out of a garage or carport. Open the hood, doors and trunk and leave it to air out for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes have elapsed, open the engine compartment.

What should I do if I see evidence of rodents in the engine compartment?

What do I do if the rats get into the air ducts, air intake system or vehicle?

Rodents can enter into air duct systems, crawl along it, and nest in accordion style or even in the air filter hose and ducting which leads directly into the passenger compartment. Clean as described above, with a 1: 9 solution of bleach-to-water or a commercial disinfectant, wait 5 minutes, and then remove the material. Discard the old filter and replace it with a new one. Inspection, disinfection, and the possibility of replacing hoses, ductwork, other filters, fans, or other components of the system may be necessary if a rat infestation area: Consult a professional mechanic or automotive eligible for assistance. For a comprehensive vehicle infestations, additional detailed instructions regarding the prevention of hantavirus can be found in this

Should I use a vacuum cleaner or compressed air?

No. Never sweep or use a vacuum cleaner, compressed air or high-powered sprayers for cleaning rodent droppings and nests or contaminated areas until after you’ve soaked in a solution of 1: 9 bleach-to-water or a commercial disinfectant. This is because the dried feces and urine containing hantavirus particles can get into the air, making it easier to breathe in.

How do I clean other places in the car?

Just as for cleaning machines, glove use and a long-sleeved shirt, soaked with nesting material and droppings with a 1: 9 bleach-to-water or disinfectant commercial and let sit for 5 minutes before throwing away materials in a garbage bag.

What do I do after I inspected and cleaned the vehicle?

Before removing gloves you wash your gloved hands in disinfectant or 1: 9 bleach-to-water solution. Pour some disinfectant into trash bags and paper towels that have already cleaned your nest. Seal garbage bags. Rinse your gloved hands with water, take off the gloves, throw, and finished by washing hands with soap and water.

What do I do if the rat comes back?

Do whatever it takes to prevent rodents from residing in your vehicle (as well as your garage, warehouse, and home). Use snap traps as a first choice. live or sticky traps are not recommended. If you have not used the vehicle for a while, air out and checks the air ducks and filter before starting the engine.

Where can I learn more about the hantavirus?

A lot of information about hantavirus and clean up after rat infestation is available at :.

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