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Observations Of Evidence Of Infestation (feces

We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the efficacy of rodent proofing continuously occupied homes as a method for lowering the risk for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) among residents of a Native American community in northwestern New Mexico. Rodent proofing of dwellings was paired with culturally appropriate health education. Seventy homes were randomly assigned to treatment or control categories. Treatment homes were rodent-proofed by sealing openings around foundations, doors, roofs, and pipes and repairing screens and windows. Repairs to each dwelling were limited to $500 US. After repairs were completed, 15-20 snap traps were placed in each treatment and control home and checked approximately every 2 days for an average of 3-4 weeks. During 23,373 trap nights, one house mouse (Mus musculus) was captured in one treatment home, and 20 mice (16 deer mice,

Peromyscus maniculatus, two Pinyon mice, Peromyscus truei, and two unidentified mice) were captured in five control homes (one house had 14 captures, two had two captures, and two had one capture). Trap success was 0.01% in treatment homes and 0.15% in controls. Intensity of infestation (mean number of mice captured per infested home) was 1 in treatment homes and 4 in controls. Observations of evidence of infestation (feces, nesting material, gnaw marks, or reports of infestation by occupant) per 100 days of observation were 1.2 in treatment homes and 3.1 in controls. Statistical power of the experiment was limited because it coincided with a period of low rodent abundance (August-November 2000). Nevertheless, these results suggest that inexpensive rodent proofing of occupied rural homes can decrease the frequency and intensity of rodent intrusion, thereby reducing the risk of HPS among rural residents in the southwestern United States.