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How to Prevent Hantavirus in Your Home

Prevention Indoors and Outdoors

INDOORS

bulletStoring food in rodent proof containerKeep a clean home, especially kitchen (wash dishes, clean counters and floor, keep food covered in rodent-proof containers).

bulletKeep a tight-fitting lid on garbage, discard uneaten pet food at the end of the day.

bulletSet and keep spring-loaded rodent traps. Set traps near baseboards because rodents tend to run along walls and in tight spaces rather than out in the open.

bulletSet Environmental Protection Agency-approved rodenticide with bait under plywood or plastic shelter along baseboards. These are sometimes known as "covered bait stations." Remember to follow product use instructions carefully, since rodenticides are poisonous to pets and people, too.

bulletSeal all entry holes 1/4 inch wide or wider with lath screen or lath metal, cement, wire screening or other patching materials, inside and out.
Setting spring-loaded rodent trapUsing lath screen  to seal potential entry hole

If bubonic plague is a problem in your area, spray flea killer or spread flea powder in the area before setting traps. This is important. If you control rodents but do not control fleas as well, you may increase the risk of infection with bubonic plague, since fleas will leave rodents once the rodents die and will seek out other food sources, including humans.



OUTDOORS
bulletClear brush, grass and junk from around house foundations to eliminate a source of nesting materials.

bulletUse metal flashing around the base of wooden, earthen or adobe homes to provide a strong metal barrier. Install so that the flashing reaches 12 inches above the ground and six inches down into the ground
Garbage can with tight-fitting lid
bulletElevate hay, woodpiles and garbage cans to eliminate possible nesting sites. If possible, locate them 100 feet or more from your house.

bulletTrap rodents outside, too. Poisons or rodenticides may be used as well, but be sure to keep them out of the reach of children or pets.

bulletEncourage the presence of natural predators, such as non-poisonous snakes, owls and hawks.

bulletRemember, getting rid of all rodents isn't feasible, but with ongoing effort you can keep the population very low.
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For more information on HPS prevention, visit the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Spotlight: Seal Up! Trap Up! Clean Up!