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Subject: Hantavirus


From: Tom Dixon <tom.dixon>
Date: Monday, April 22, 2002
Gretchen Voeks <gretchen_voeks [at] nps__gov> writes

>We are currently holding a number of collections that came into our
>labs contaminated with rodent droppings and urine.  These are
>collections from southwestern sites and are a potential hantavirus
>danger.  Instructions for cleaning buildings include liberal dousing
>with bleach or Lysol, or exposing the space to direct sunlight.
>Bleach and Lysol may damage the wooden, paper and textile components
>of the archeological objects. Sunlight may not penetrate deeply
>enough into the body of the wood.  Can anyone suggest other methods
>of killing this virus without harming the objects?  Is there a known
>life-span for hantavirus?  Can we simply store these objects in
>polyethylene bags for a year or two while waiting for the virus to

I think it is unlikely you can bag the items and wait out hantavirus
with any certainty and it is a sufficiently deadly prospect to
warrant not guessing.  I'd be contacting the Center for Disease
Control in Atlanta and asking their advice.  Meanwhile, I'd get in
touch with any friendly microbiologists I can find at the local

Tom Dixon
Chief Conservator
National Gallery of Victoria

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:72
                  Distributed: Tuesday, April 23, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-72-002
Received on Monday, 22 April, 2002

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