If you notice signs of a rodent infestation, several questions about the hantavirus might cross your mind. Is hantavirus dangerous? Should you worry about it? This virus can have dangerous implications for humans. Therefore, use caution when handling anything touched by rodents.
How long does the hantavirus live in droppings? The answer depends on several factors. First, you should contact a pest control provider to schedule a solution. Continue reading to learn about hantavirus transmission.
What Is Hantavirus Infection?
Hantavirus begins its journey in rodents like deer mice. Mice infected with hantavirus won’t likely show any symptoms of illness. They only serve as viral hosts.
However, mice shed the virus through feces, urine, and saliva. They often use saliva to help create nests or chew through barriers and may urinate when afraid.
When the hantavirus travels from a mouse to a human, it causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the human. Sometimes, a hantavirus infection in a human doesn’t progress to HPS, causing only mild symptoms. However, HPS attacks your respiratory system and can cause severe sickness or even death in some cases.
How Long Does Hantavirus Live in Droppings?
When you encounter signs of a mouse infestation, you typically discover old mouse droppings on various surfaces. Most of these surfaces remain tucked away from human activity. While people rarely contract hantavirus from dried droppings, it can still happen.
How Long Are Mouse Droppings Dangerous?
So, how long are mouse droppings dangerous? Even though you won’t likely catch hantavirus from old droppings, you should still use caution. You can catch hantavirus from particles of feces, droplets, or saliva.
These types of excrement are often located in nests and areas that mice frequent. If you disturb the materials, you risk inhaling excrement particles, which may lead to hantavirus infection.
How long does the hantavirus survive in feces? Its average survival lasts between two and four days, depending on the surrounding conditions. Hantavirus doesn’t survive quite as long when exposed to more extreme outdoor conditions.
But how long does hantavirus live in droppings indoors? At room temperature, it can survive for up to four days. However, you should keep any indoor space vacant for up to one week after a pest control treatment.
How Long Does Hantavirus Live on Surfaces?
Hantavirus can survive for four days at best on surfaces and other materials. However, you should still leave surfaces untouched after disinfection. If you suspect mice have touched any materials or items, you can set them in sunlit areas. Sunlight effectively combats the hantavirus, shortening its viability.
Symptoms of Hantavirus Infection
What does a hantavirus infection look like in humans? Many people experience no symptoms or mild illness related to hantavirus transmission. Once the hantavirus causes serious sickness in a person, it can lead to conditions like HPS, HFRS, and NE. Each of these illnesses has different symptoms, affecting your body in various ways.
Nephropathia Epidemica (NE) and Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome (HFRS)
Symptoms of NE and HFRS often occur suddenly. They can last a few days to three months before a full recovery. The symptoms may include:
- Achy back
- Nausea and vomiting
- Upset stomach
- Serious headaches
This type of infection causes death in up to 15% of people. If you have symptoms of this illness, seek medical attention.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
HPS attacks your respiratory system. Where NE and HFRS resemble a stomach virus initially, HPS resembles the flu. However, it claims the lives of a fourth of its victims. Some symptoms associated with HPS include:
- Achy body
- Digestive problems like nausea, diarrhea, and sick stomach
After about a week of HPS, you’ll go into the late stage of the sickness, symptoms of which include:
- Hacking cough
- Labored breathing
- Inability to take a full breath
During the late stage, fluid fills your lungs and slowly drowns you. If you think a hantavirus exposure has caused HPS, seek advice from a medical professional to lessen the illness and improve your outcome.
How To Treat Hantavirus Infection
If you are healthy and have a strong immune system, you may treat hantavirus infection with pain relief and fever treatment. Symptoms of early-stage illness should lessen within a week. If symptoms persist or you start to get sicker at any point, seek immediate medical attention.
If you’ve recently been exposed to mouse excrement, we recommend you speak with a physician about your symptoms. Your healthcare provider can provide information about what to monitor. They may also have treatment options to ensure your continued health.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hantavirus
Are Old Mouse Droppings Harmful?
Although a rare occurrence, old mouse droppings may still contain traces of virus hantavirus. However, you should still exercise caution when cleaning or handling an infestation area. Mice can also carry other diseases with varying viability. Old excrement can also provide a conducive environment for mold.
How Long can Hantavirus Live?
How long is hantavirus viable? Indoors, it can survive for up to four days. Outside and exposed to sunlight, it survives for a shorter time. However, you should avoid disturbing an area of infestation for a week after a pest control service.
Is Hantavirus Contagious?
Mice can transmit hantavirus to humans. However, humans can’t transmit hantavirus to each other. Therefore, hantavirus isn’t contagious between two people. If the hantavirus makes you ill, you don’t have to worry about your loved ones. Just prevent them from entering a contaminated area.
A Healthy Home Starts With a Healthy Attic
Since many homeowners rarely spend lots of time in their attics, these spaces can host many critters like mice, rats, and bats. Even though the answer to “How long does hantavirus live in droppings?” might put you at ease, any home infestation carries risks for you and your family. If you’re facing a suspicious critter invasion, contact our attic and crawl space experts at Attic Projects. Request a free inspection or a free custom estimate from us today.