Rodent Trapping

Emergency Info
Systems Status
Observer Info
Science at ARO
ARO In The News
Internal Docs
Tucson Info
Photo Gallery
Search ARO




The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Recommends respirators for persons trapping rodents (such as mammologists) in areas with endemic hantavirus. 

All U of A employees, volunteers and students who wear respirators must be enrolled in the UA Respiratory Protection Program. (

This self study quiz builds on the training required by IACUC for rodent trapping and is a prerequisite for OSHA mandated respirator medical clearance, training and fit testing.  Please visit the URLs listed for each question, and answer the questions below before  scheduling the hands-on respiratory protection class. 

Replies may be sent via email or faxed to me at (520) 621-3706.

Step 1:  Fill out self study quiz below, and submit via email to

Step 2:  Contact Julia Rosen at Risk Management to obtain an OSHA respirator medical questionnaire.  (Julia Rosen, 621-1570),

Complete questionnaire and submit to Occupational Health Services:  http//

Some individuals may need to have a physical exam, based on questionnaire answers. This questionnaire is different from your animal hazard risk assessment questionnaire. 

Step 3:  Schedule a respiratory protection class with Risk Management Julia Rosen 621-1570.  Allow 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Each student will be given a “prescription” for a respirator, including the brand and size respirator that fits. Just like shoes, respirators come in different sizes for different faces.   Men need to be clean shaven where the respirator could contact skin.  Not even a day’s worth of stubble is allowed.  As an alternative, hooded powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) may be used.  These are much more costly (hundreds of dollars), but do not require medical certification or fit testing for users, and are the only type of respirator that will protect bearded individuals.

Step 4:  Purchase respirators and other PPE (personal protective equipment) required for the job.  Costs are your department's responsibility.



Please visit the following websites and answer the questions below before the hands-on respiratory protection class.  Replies may be sent via email or faxed to me at 621-3706, or brought to class.


1a.     What are the most common symptoms of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)?


1b.     What is the maximum incubation period between exposure and symptoms?


2.       What is the fatality rate for HPS?


3.       In 2004, a 32 year old wildlife sciences graduate student died from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in West Virginia.  Describe how he was exposed.


4.       How many cases of HPS have been seen in Arizona since discovery in 1993?  


5.       What should you do if you develop symptoms of HPS within 6 weeks of trapping mammals?



6.       Any and all Peromyscus species must be handled with proper protection.  The Arizona department of Health service has identified evidence (seropositivity) of hantavirus infection in at least six different Peromyscus sp. in AZ:

P. maniculatus, P. eremicus, P. boylii, P. truei, P. leucopus, and P. crinitus


Human case exposures/transmission of Sin Nombre virus in AZ has been linked to

P. manc. and P. eremicus. P. boylii in northern AZ has been shown to carry another Hantavirus - Limestone Canyon virus - but nothing is known about its pathogenicity to humans.  There are also 3 other types of rodents that have shown to carry hantavirus.  Which of these are found in Arizona?


7.                  How is hantavirus primarily transmitted?




8.       Please refer to the CDC reference manual "Methods for Trapping & Sampling Small Mammals for Virologic Testing" to answer the following questions.  It is strongly advisable to download a copy for field reference. The safety section begins on page 8.



            a.         Name 3 disinfectants effective against hantavirus, and the dilution                                         strength for use.






            b.         Which disinfectant has been shown NOT to adversely effect trapping                         efficiency rates?



            c.         Although the data is incomplete, some data suggests that hantavirus can                         survive as long as __________ days on dry surfaces.


            d.         What type of respirator cartridge is required for hantavirus protection?


            e.         Name 2 protective work practices to minimize aerosol inhalation when                         checking a trap with a closed door (see page 17).




            f.          How should clothes worn during mammal trapping be laundered? 


9.       Fieldwork in Arizona summers can place a substantial heat stress burden on the body. Please visit the following OSHA web site to answer the following questions:

                        a.  What are the signs of heat exhaustion?


                        b.  What are the signs of heat stroke?


                        c.  Which of these is more dangerous?


                        d.  What should you do if you develop heat exhaustion?


                        e. What should you do if you have symptoms of heat stroke?


                        f.  Name 4 important steps to preventing heat related illness:











For more technical information: Please visit CDC’s Hantavirus Frequently Asked Questions Site:

 Copyright Arizona Radio Observatory.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact [tfolkers{at}email{dot}arizona{dot}edu].
Last updated: 11/08/11.