Applications of heat: Hantavirus
by Tommy Underhill
December 13, 2018
As I review the developmental history of the GreenTech Heat insect eradication technology, I’d like to share an application of heat against another danger: Hantavirus.
Hantavirus outbreaks over the past decade have focused the nation’s attention on the need for vector control. However, killing and removal of the infectious rodents do little to alleviate the virus the animals leave in their environment.
These rodents are often found in easily-accessible areas of a structure, and are often trapped or baited in places such as attics, sub-areas, and garages. These areas are relatively easy to disinfect once the vermin are exterminated. However, large portions of the rodent population spend a substantial time in the inaccessible areas that are impractical or impossible to disinfect by conventional methods.
William Currie of the International Pest Management Institute examined the effect of Hantavirus from rodent excretia in inaccessible portion of structures and wall voids.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identified several methods of inactivating Hantavirus, including exposure to 140°F heat for 30 minutes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that most bacteria die from exposure to 140°F for one hour. The California Department of Public Health determined that Hantavirus is disinfected with exposure to 150°F for two hours. Thermal pest eradication is capable of elevating a building’s temperature to these levels. Currie wrote that GreenTech Heat’s thermal pest eradication process can be a viable method for disinfecting Hantavirus in rodent-infected voids in structures.
World Health Organization’s Manual of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome lists eight ways hantavirus in the liquid state is readily inactivated: chloroform, ether-alcohol, β-propiolactone, acid (below pH 5.0), phenol, sodium hypochlorite, 60cobalt irradiation, and heat above 60°C/140°F for 30 minutes. Heat is the only solution appropriate for treating an exposed area.
In 2003, the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service contracted to have sixty cabins, which had a severe infestation of rats and other rodents, treated with heat. Rodent excrement, urine, and nesting materials contaminated with Hantavirus was found throughout the cabins. Heat played a key role in eliminating the virus, oxidizing the odors, denaturing the virus, and disinfecting the cabins. Technicians used a thermal imaging camera combined while heating the cabins to identify where heat was escaping the structures. Materials for rodent exclusion were then put into place to prevent re-infestations of the cabins after the heat treatment.
We developed the GreenTech Heat technology to be efficacious against all forms of insect pests. Give us a call. We are ready to help or consult with any unique applications.