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Subject: Hantavirus


From: Susan Hartman <shartman>
Date: Wednesday, December 7, 1994
A patron came in to one of our small libraries asking for help.  She has
several boxes of books that she received last summer from the southwest
(Arizona, I believe).  There are mouse droppings in the box and the
patron is concerned about protecting herself from the hantavirus that is
carried by the droppings of deer mice.

The precautions that we are aware of is to wear a mask and use bleach to
clean the area and keep the dust down.  Bleach doesn't seem a practical
course to take.  What are the best precautions to take?  The person
dealing with the boxes of books is fearful of the hantavirus and would
rather err on the side of caution, but still would like to keep the

I'm hoping that someone "out there" knows the safest way of dealing with
this situation, other than destroying the books. Thanks for any help and

    **** Moderator's comments: I asked Susan to provide more detail
    about this virus and she added the following note:

    Hantavirus--The symptoms begin as a minor respiratory problem and
    quickly escalate to the death of the victim within days.  It's an
    airborne "virus" associated with the droppings of deer mice--more
    than that the authorities are not sure of.  There was an outbreak of
    it in the Four Corners area (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado)
    about a year and a half ago, culminating in about 2 dozen or so
    deaths.  The word out now is to not be alarmed, but to take
    precautions.  However, the health departments don't tend to deal
    with what to do with boxes of books that can pose a risk.

    Precautions to take: wear a mask and push any dirt or loose debris
    rather than use a sweeping motion and follow with a cloth dampened
    with bleach to clean up an area that may be infected or has mouse

Susan Hartman
Pathfinder Library System
Grand Junction, Colorado

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:44
                Distributed: Thursday, December 8, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-44-006
Received on Wednesday, 7 December, 1994

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