Experts Predict Hantavirus Resurgence

01 February, 2008

How to Keep Mice at Bay
Telltale Signs of Mice in Your Home

With the likely resurgence of Hantavirus being predicted by national health experts in a recent USA Today story, a local pest control company is encouraging people to take sensible precautions to prevent mouse problems in their homes. A rare but deadly disease, Hantavirus is spread through dry white footed mouse excrement.

Ehrlich Pest Control emphasizes that finding a mouse in your home is no reason to panic. According to Ehrlich Entomologist Chris Arne, "It is most likely a house mouse, which has not demonstrated itself as a Hantavirus carrier," he explained. The known Hantavirus carrier is the white footed mouse.

Although white footed mice are more likely to pester unoccupied structures such as cabins and summer lodges, they do get into homes from time to time.

When they do gain access into a home, the specialists at Ehrlich say the white footed mouse (or any mouse for that matter) can cause extensive physical damage. Their gnawing and nesting activities often cause extensive damage to insulation and
electrical wiring. In unoccupied buildings such as cabins and vacation homes, mice can do considerable damage to upholstered furniture by shredding fabric and padding in order to build nests.

"While there is no reason to take any drastic measures to prevent mouse problems in and around your home, a few common sense steps never hurt," says Arne. Exclusion is the best solution to mouse problems. Even the smallest opening or crack should be closed with hardware cloth or sheet metal. Coarse steel wool can be packed tightly in holes and around pipes where gaps permit entry. Any gap big enough to slip a pencil through will permit a mouse to enter.

Ehrlich offers these other "mouseproofing" tips that focus on general sanitation in and around the home. For instance:
• Keep garbage cans tightly sealed at all times.
• Keep firewood, lumber and clutter away from your home.
• Make sure there is no spillage from your bird feeder.
• Keep grass and weeds short and well-trimmed.
• Don't store food products on the floor.