Hantavirus Procedures

Clean-up of Rodent-contaminated Areas


Hantavirus infection is caused by a virus that is found in some rodents, especially deer mice in Canada and the United States. The virus is rarely transmitted to people, but when it is, the virus can cause severe illness — even death. People can contract the disease when they breathe the virus that is found in the urine, saliva, or droppings of infected rodents. Hantavirus infections usually occur in rural or semirural areas where workers are more likely to contact infected rodents or their droppings. Those infected with the virus have shown flu-like symptoms that turn to a dangerous, pneumonia-like condition after two or three days.





Evidence of the presence of rodents should be reported to Facilities Management, ( local 4573) who will contact our contracted pest control company. Staff should not handle rodents, contaminated materials and/or traps, but should defer to the pest control company


When necessary, the following procedure is to be applied when cleaning up

small quantities of rodent droppings:



 1. Clear all unnecessary workers from the area.

2. Ventilate the area by opening windows and doors, if possible.

3. Wear a respirator with a HEPA filter if you are involved in clean-up — for clean-up, wearing a HEPA respirator is



4. Wear plastic or rubber disposable gloves.

5. Spray the debris with disinfectant solution to soak the material. Avoid using a stream of water — this may create aerosols.

6. Scoop up the material. Dispose of all contaminated material in double plastic bags. Seal the bags. Label them to identify the contents and handle the bags in a manner that will avoid puncturing the bags. Bags of waste may be disposed of by burying them in a hole that is at least two feet deep or by incinerating them. Contaminated material may also be disposed of with regular garbage as long as the amount of material can be safely treated by being soaked in a disinfectant solution and the material is in double plastic bags.

7. Wipe or mop surfaces with a solution of disinfectant and detergent.

8. Decontaminate and remove personal protective equipment and clothing in accordance with the


Decontamination Procedure .




Decontamination Procedure



After any activity involving the handling of contaminated or potentially contaminated material, and before leaving the immediate work area, apply these procedures:

Do not remove respiratory protective equipment until other decontamination steps are complete.



1. Remove coveralls at the perimeter of the work area and place them in a disposal bag. Collapse the bag and temporarily seal it.

2 Move away from the clean-up or contaminated work area to a location where there are no other workers — preferably outdoors — leaving eye and respiratory protection in place.

3. Wet wipe exposed reusable respirator surfaces, eyewear, and rubber footwear with a disinfectant solution.

4. Rinse the outside of gloves in the disinfectant solution. Remove the gloves and place them in a plastic bag for disposal (or if the gloves are reusable, disinfect them before storing them).

5. Place disposable respirators in a plastic bag. Permanently seal the bag. Label the bag. For reusable respirators, tape shut the inlet opening of the respirator cartridges to prevent the release of dusts (cartridges may be reused until breathing becomes difficult) or discard the cartridges. Clean and disinfect the respirator body. Store the respirators in a cool, clean location free from contamination.

6. Remove eyewear. Clean and disinfect it before storing it, or discard it.

7. Wash exposed skin surfaces thoroughly with soap and water.

Cleaning Solutions:


— a diluted household bleach solution (100 ml household bleach/litre water) to be used on rodent carcasses; rodent nesting materials; droppings; and surfaces and materials contaminated with droppings or urine; or to decontaminate rubber gloves and boots.




a solution of domestic laundry detergent mixed according to manufacturer’s instructions to be used to decontaminate clothing and personal protective equipment.