Diseases are mainly spread to people from rodents when they breathe in contaminated air. CDC recommends you NOT vacuum (even vacuums with a HEPA filter) or sweep rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials. These actions can cause tiny droplets containing viruses to get into the air.
However, old rodent feces dries out and releases particles into the air. Once the fecal particles become airborne, you can breathe them in and catch a serious disease or illness.
Although the length of time hantaviruses can remain alive and able to infect other people (infectious period) in the environment varies. The virus may remain infectious for 2 to 3 days at room temperature.
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.
After rodent droppings, urine and nesting materials have been removed, disinfect other items or areas that might have been contaminated. After removal of droppings and debris, your Orkin Specialist may recommend mopping using a disinfectant compound or steam cleaning where there is evidence of rodent exposure.
Summary: Rodent droppings pose several health risks, including infectious diseases such as Hantavirus and leptospirosis, as well as the potential for mold growth and attraction of other pests.
In fact, mice are explorers who go around looking for any source of food they can find. Just because your home is clean, doesn't mean you're protected from a mice infestation.
In addition, there are no reports of hantavirus infection in humans in Australia. Hantaviruses routinely establish persistent, non-cytolytic infections in rodent hosts and are maintained in the wild by rodent reservoirs.
Mice droppings are typically small, about ¼-inch in length. You can tell if they are fresh droppings by the color. Newer droppings will be darker and shinier while older droppings will look chalky and dry. Rat droppings are similar in shape but larger, typically ½-inch to ¾-inch in length with blunt ends.
The risk of acquiring hantavirus is extremely rare, even among people who are consistently exposed to mice and other rodents. The majority of exposures (70%) occur around the home. Hantavirus poses no significant health risk to WSU employees provided that simple precautions are followed.
Diseases Spread by Mice and Rats
Avoid touching your nose, ears, or mouth, and always wash your hands (even with protection) once you're done. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a respiratory disease caused by stirring up air contaminated by rodent feces. (Avoid sweeping up droppings!)
People get HPS when they breath in hantaviruses. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain a hantavirus are stirred up into the air. People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Anyone who comes into contact with infected rodent droppings, urine, saliva, nesting materials, or particles from these, can get hantavirus disease. Exposure to poorly ventilated areas with active rodent infestations in households, is the strongest risk factor for infection.
Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Native Australian rodents (for example Hopping Mice) pose little or no threat to public health and should be left alone as they are protected species. However introduced rodents may infest residential and agricultural areas and carry disease.
Mice and disease
Mice can carry diseases such as leptospirosis. When handling baits, dead mice or items contaminated by mice, wear gloves and protective clothing. Always wash your hands with soap and water, especially before handling food or drinks, or smoking.
Age of Droppings
Fresh droppings are dark in color and soft in texture, but after three days they harden and lose the dark color. The age of mice droppings tells you how recently the rodents have been to the spot where you see them.
If you notice a dark color along with some shine along the outside surface, the droppings are likely fresh. As they dry out, the droppings will take on more of a chalky or dried appearance. The color may lighten some with age, but dark brown is still what you're looking for to detect mice poop.
Mouse droppings don't just mean that you might have had mice in your home a few weeks ago. The presence of mouse droppings means that there is likely an active mouse den nearby. In fact, chances are if you see any mouse droppings at all, they've already moved in for good.
Approximately 12 percent of deer mice carry hantavirus. The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is the primary reservoir for Sin Nombre Virus, the strain of hantavirus responsible for the human cases in Yosemite National Park, and most human cases in the United States.
House mice do not carry hantavirus.
The majority of Hantavirus infections occur in males and in individuals between the ages of 20-40 4. Trappers, hunters, forestry workers, farmers, and military personnel have a higher risk of contracting the disease 2 4.
Spray the disinfectant onto the mice or rat droppings and allow it to soak for at least five minutes. You can use paper towels to remove the excrement and plastic garbage bags to dispose of them. After the area has been thoroughly cleaned, reapply the disinfectant over any other spots that rodents have touched.
Wearing rubber gloves, thoroughly soak droppings, nests and dead mice with a bleach/ water solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) or a household disinfectant. Let the bleach water solution sit on the droppings/nests/mice, for five minutes.