Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome has prompted health concerns among those who regularly come in contact with the rodent hosts (and their excreta) infected with Sin Nombre virus. One method to reduce the likelihood of contracting hantavirus is to inactivate the virus, which may be present in traps or on field equipment, using a disinfectant. To test effects that residual chlorine fumes had on trappability of small mammals, Sherman traps were immersed in a 10% bleach solution 1 night before placement in the field. Those traps were alternated with non-chlorinated traps on eight trapping grids. No significant effects of the hypochlorite solution on trappability were detected for the four most common species: deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), and northern short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda). In a second experiment, alternating Sherman traps were sprayed with the hypochlorite solution on a daily basis for 6 consecutive days. Again, no significant effect on trappability was detected. Therefore, such disinfecting of traps previously occupied by rodents may be one means of reducing probability of contracting hantavirus without affecting small mammal trappability.

Author notes

Associate Editor was Robert K. Rose.