Quoted from Pecos:
Because Project Pinsters are often around and trying to remove mouse urine and feces I need to make you aware of this concern. You may have heard of the hantavirus outbreak that killed some people in the desert southwest, called The 1993 Four Corners Hantavirus Outbreak. From Wikipedia, "From April to May 1993, there were 24 reported cases. Twelve of those people died, or 50% mortality rate. Of the 24 cases, 14 were Native Americans, nine were non-Hispanic white and one was Hispanic."
You may not be aware that hantavirus is mostly dormant during periods of droughts when mice populations decline. When mouse populations boom, the number of contacts with humans increase and the number of cases of HPS increase. However, the hantavirus is still out there. A woman was killed this year from the hantavirus in New Mexico.
From the CDC:
"Facts About Hantaviruses"
"Hantaviruses are a group of viruses that may be carried by some rodents. Some hantaviruses can cause a rare but deadly disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. The disease is called HPS for short."
"While HPS is a very rare disease, cases have occurred in all regions of the United States except for Alaska and Hawaii."
"Only some kinds of mice and rats can give people hantaviruses that can cause HPS. In North America, they are the deer mouse, the white-footed mouse, the rice rat, and the cotton rat. However, not every deer mouse, white-footed mouse, rice rat, or cotton rat carries a
hantavirus. Other rodents, such as house mice, roof rats, and Norway rats, have never been known to give people HPS. Since it is hard to tell if a mouse or a rat carries a hantavirus, it is best to avoid all wild mice and rats and to safely clean up any rodent urine, droppings, or nests in your home."
"People get HPS when they breath in hantaviruses. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain a hantavirus are stirred up into the air. People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. They can also get HPS from a mouse or rat bite."
You shouldn't be overly concerned every time you buy a pinball machine that mice have used for their hotel. Like electricity, you do need to have a healthy respect for the disease.
These are some of the guidelines that I have used in the past or will be using in the future when disinfecting a pinball machine with mouse/rat urine and feces:
Do NOT bring the machine in the house or garage unless you must.
Do NOT vacuum or try to sweep up the feces.
DO take the mech board, cabinet, playfield and whatever parts show signs of urine or feces outdoors to disinfect.
DO wear a mask sufficient for filtering out small particles.
DO wet the urine and feces with a mixture of water and bleach in a spray bottle.
DO use paper towels to remove the urine and feces. Repeat until area has been thoroughly cleaned. Dispose of paper towels properly in the garbage.
DO paint the area of urine and feces after drying, if possible.
In addition, the CDC recommends wearing rubber or plastic gloves, washing them in a disinfectant after use and then disposing into the garbage.
According to the CDC, the proper bleach to water solution is:
"Mix 1 ½
cups of household bleach with 1
gallon of water. Smaller amounts can
be made with 1 part bleach and 9
If you are going to be cleaning out a pinball machine with obvious signs of mouse activity, it is a good idea to read the entire CDC article.
Stay safe out there!
Important safety tip, Pecos. Thanks!