How Long Do Mouse Droppings Remain Infectious? Our Research

FEB 02, 2023 AT 01:18 PM

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The problem with viruses recently attacked the planet and now people are much more serious about the possible issues that these viruses bring. But COVID-19 is not the only virus that was given to people by animals. Rats and mice also spread very dangerous and deadly infectious viruses that you can get even when contacting with their droppings.

Yes, mouse droppings really contain a virus, most likely, hantavirus, that can easily infect a person and cause really bad consequences for a person’s health. So, in this article, we’ll tell you how long the hantavirus may survive and infect a person or any other creature if located in mouse droppings.

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We’ll discuss the following:

  • The period of time hantavirus can survive in mouse droppings and be dangerous.
  • How can you get infected when you contact with mouse droppings?
  • What are the common symptoms of being infected with hantavirus?
  • What should you do to prevent any infections of that type?

Let’s get started!

How long will hantavirus survive in mouse droppings?

Unfortunately, not all contacts of a person with an animal end up being pleasant and safe like you petting your cat or dog. Some animals may be much more dangerous than they seem to be. And although they usually avoid direct contact with a person, they can still leave their traps unconsciously and cause severe danger to a person.

Mouse droppings are just one example of this. And you can easily contact with them without even knowing this.

So, here’s what you should know about the estimated lifespan of the virus in mouse droppings:

  • the average period of life for hantavirus in mouse droppings is up to 3 days;
  • but cold temperatures and high moisture can prolong this period up to 5-7 days;
  • also, direct sunbeams and dry air will likely kill hantavirus much faster – for about 1 day;
  • different virus strains have a slightly different lifespan, so it may vary a little.

Now you know that on average, hantavirus can live about 3 days in mouse droppings, but you shouldn’t experiment with this anyway because different conditions may affect the lifespan of the virus. So, be careful even with those droppings that are far older than 3 days.

Also, you can barely distinguish between 7-day-old and 3-day-old droppings, so you can never be sure the risk is low enough to neglect all the needed safety measures.

How to protect yourself from hantavirus in mouse droppings?

If you have even a little guess that the area you are about to clean is affected by mice or rats, you have to be extremely careful. Hantavirus is pretty light, so it may go up in the air and get into your eyes, nose, or mouth when you are cleaning the area. Also, you can get it on your hands when cleaning and eventually putting it onto your face where it will find its way to the nose, mouth, etc.

Here's how you can protect yourself:

  • whenever you understand that the area is infested by mice or rats, get extra safety measures;
  • make sure the area is well-ventilated before you spend some time there;
  • first of all, you should close all parts of your skin, especially your arms and hands – wear long sleeves;
  • get protective gloves (maybe medical or just some gloves for cleaning) on your hands;
  • wear a medical mask on your face to avoid inhaling the virus from the air;
  • wear protective goggles;
  • wash your hands right in your gloves, then take the gloves and throw them away;
  • sanitize your hands before you take off the mask and other safety things.

These are some basic rules that will help you avoid getting infected with the hantavirus. This doesn’t offer 100% protection, but your chances of falling ill will be much lower.

Also, whenever you see mouse droppings, never take them in your hands to investigate or something. Ensure you have no direct contact with it. This will save you from infections and also help you keep your hands and gloves clean.

Even if you have done everything from the list above, you can never be sure you are fully protected. Something may go wrong, so be sure to watch your health a day or two after such cleaning.

What are the common symptoms of hantavirus in people?

First of all, calm down now because you have so low a chance to get hantavirus from mouse droppings that it’s even funny to count the stats. Up to 1000 registered cases have been there in the US since 1993 when scientists discovered this type of virus. And most cases weren’t fatal, so people were cured.

If you actually got this virus, you may feel these symptoms within a day or two after contacting mouse droppings or urine:

  • high body temperature, sometimes very high;
  • muscular aches – large muscles usually ache;
  • sometimes, people experience headaches, chills, and dizziness;
  • rarely, there may also be abdominal problems like pains, nausea vomiting, etc.

The symptoms are pretty universal and may be applied to many kinds of viruses, including COVID-19 which is much easier to get even now. So, before you decide on the type of virus you got and start curing yourself, visit a doctor and get tested.

There are special tests for hantavirus antibodies, so doctors can quickly detect if this virus caused your problems.

The best solution you may come up with is to visit a doctor. Don’t forget to wear a mask!

Is hantavirus from mouse droppings contagious?

We understand that if you got this virus, you are now most concerned about your relatives and other people who you can infect. The good news is: hantavirus cannot be transmitted from one person to another and this is what makes it wonderfully different from COVID-19 and many other viruses.

Yes, you can get it after coming in contact with rodents and their droppings, but you can’t infect other people which is good.

How to prevent getting viruses from mouse droppings?

This is the most interesting question. First of all, you should follow all the simple rules that we’ve written above in one of the sections of this article. Once you’ve done that, you can be sure that you are protected, at least, you have a very little chance to get infected.

But you should also remember about other preventive methods:

  • avoid coming in contact with urine and droppings of all kinds of rodents;
  • never come to rooms and houses where you think rodents can be;
  • follow the rules of personal hygiene in the process and after cleaning;
  • make sure you know how to react if you see mouse droppings;
  • never take in your hands anything that can infect you;
  • pay attention to your health and always consult your doctor if something is wrong.

You should know that hantavirus and some other viruses that can live in mouse droppings are not as dangerous as they are thought to be. But every person can react individually. So, better avoid all kinds of viruses that can make you feel sick.

Final words

If you are about to clean some place where you think rodents can live, just follow the simple steps from our article. We’ve shown you today how you can protect yourself and make sure the viruses in mouse droppings never come in contact with your body. But even if you got infected, don’t panic! The best thing you can do is to consult with your doctor as soon as possible.