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Me and my uncle are working on cleaning stuff (various auto parts and tools built up over the last 60 or so years) out a garage on my parents' property prior to demolishing it.

There are multiple obvious mouse nests of unknown age that we'll need to deal with either now or during the knocking down.

The issue is that mice in this area (Western Canada) have been known to carry hantavirus.

Google is finding me loads of conflicting information on proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and procedures for dealing with this, ranging from the vague "wear appropriate PPE" to "goggles, gloves, and an N100 dust mask" to "wear an NCB suit and hose everything down with bleach".

Does anyone have some specific suggestions on how to deal with this?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Generally, house mice don't carry hantavirus. However, it sounds like your property may be semi-rural, so there might be deer mice, which may carry it.

I found this Center for Disease Control PDF. Interestingly enough, it doesn't talk about respiratory protection at all. It seems that all you need to do is spray down the old nests/etc. with disinfectant or a bleach/water solution and bag it.

While I don't claim to be more knowledgeable on the subject than the CDC, I would certainly wear a mask.

Summary from PDF for posterity:

How to clean out cabins, sheds, barns, or other outbuildings:

  • Open all doors and windows. Leave them open for 30 minutes before cleaning.
  • Wear rubber or plastic gloves.

  • Clean up all rodent urine, droppings, nests, or dead mice or rats by using a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water.

  • Air out cabins
  • Mop floors or spray dirt floors with a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water.
  • Clean countertops, cabinets, and drawers with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water.
  • Steam clean, shampoo, or spray upholstered furniture with a detergent, disinfectant, or a mixture of bleach and water.
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Yes, property in question is rural. The building is on the edge of a small village. There's a hay field literally across the street. Thanks. –  Compro01 May 15 '13 at 21:35
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+1 for wearing mask. At the least, it will make it harder for the mice to know who to retaliate against... –  HerrBag May 16 '13 at 7:00
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