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Hantavirus and the Classic Car

brett brett at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU
Sun Dec 3 14:01:26 EST 1995

>This is a question about the risks of hantavirus exposure in a particular
>situation.  I have an oldish Lancia which has been stored for some years
>in a barn on Lummi Island in northern Puget Sound.  All was well until I
>rented the adjacent land for pasturage and the resident mouse population
>moved into the car.  It is infested with two nests and dropping here and
>there on the floor.  Nest materials came from the inside of the seats so I
>suspect there are droppings in places it would be very tough to sanitize.
>     I have inquired with  an island naturalist and found out that the
>mice are likely deer mice, likely infected.  I have also been told by a
>public health official that the feces are only infected for 48 hours after
>having been dropped and that if I could kill the resident mice and
>isolated the car for 48 hours it would be safe to go in and clean up and
>tow the thing home.  After considerable phone calling I have not found
>this 48 hour theory confirmed by anyone else and have generally been
>warned against attempting a cleanup.  I have carefully put poisons in the
>car a couple times and they get consumed.  Given the apparent risks of
>moving the virus around in such an enclosed space, I am loth to do more
>without real assurance that there is a safe way to do it.  If you have
>thoughts about this odd predicament, I would be very grateful for them. 
>It's a pretty car.
>Thanks, John Keppelman.

What you need is a formeldehyde bomb to disinfect this car. However, these
things can be dangerous, so best to call in an expert. Hope you don't mind
your car smelling like a morgue for awhile...

Brett Lindenbach
Program in Immunology                              
Washington University - St Louis                  
brett at borcim.wustl.edu                             

"I own my own pet virus. I get to pet and name her." - Cobain

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