July 2019 Moms

Mice and LCMV

Hi everyone,
I am 5 months pregnant and an elementary school teacher. Recently, as I was cleaning my book shelves, I found mouse droppings. Other teachers have found them as well and we have even seen mice in our classrooms. Now, I have always known that mice carry diseases but I truly had no idea how bad it can be for pregnant women until I read the CDC website and some other articles online. The most scary thing for me is the LCMV virus which can cause permanent and serious birth defects in babies such as blindness and mental retardation. Apparently, 5% of mice carry this virus and people can contract it when there is sweeping or vacuuming of mouse droppings and the virus becomes airborne. Now obviously this is something I can't avoid because schools require sweeping and vacuuming, even if the custodian does it. I know I am not the first teacher to work in a building with mice and to get pregnant so I keep trying to reassure myself that everything will be ok but learning about this has me so stressed out and in a horrible mood all day. I tried calling my doctor but couldn't get in touch with them. Does anyone have any advice on how to get rid of mice or how I should handle this situation? Here is the CDC link if anyone is interested. Thank you!

https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lcm/index.html

Re: Mice and LCMV

  • I would be upset if I were you. I’m sure you’ll be Ok, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful. Do you have a union to go to? Not sure what the applicable laws are where you’re from but I would think your employer should be accommodating you to make sure you have a safe workplace. They should be getting a pest control company in to contain and remedy the issue as much as possible. Good luck and let us know what happens 
  • Is it from coming into contact with the feces or just being in the same room? I honestly don't think I'd worry too much. 5% is a pretty small chance. Maybe because I grew up in an old farmhouse where having mice was pretty normal. We usually have a few in our house now in the fall or winter. I'd be more concerned if they were in your home and coming into contact with your eating or cooking utensils. But really how would you actually be in contact at a school? Just wash your hands often lol!
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  • @kingdommom the virus can get kicked up into the air when sweeping and vacuuming. Being in the space would put you at risk of contracting that virus or hantavirus.
    Droppings should be wet for at least 5 minutes (usually using a disinfectant spray) before attempting to sweep them up to prevent them from kicking dust into the air. 

    I think the best way to get rid of mice is to use traps. I like the d-con no see traps. They get set and when they get the mouse in them, you don't have to see the dead body. 
    We had two mice in our house in December which made me really stressed out back then. Hubby was in charge of cleaning up after them. 
  • Well I just cleaned a whole house that used to be infested with rats. The whole one closet was a nesting area and of course the kitchen and oddly the bathroom was full of droppings. But that one closet was the worst. I showered when I got home but I hope everything is ok now that I've seen this 😬
    Pregnancy TickerFor this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. Samuel 1:27 KJV
    DS born 1.25.18 (my rainbow) | Baby Girl Due 7.25.19

  • The school I teach in is an old school and we have lots of mice. With DD#1 the textbooks under my desk were getting eaten by them. This time we had a lovely little guy running around daily before caretaking blocked up his hole. Don't do the cleaning your self, make sure you are not in the room when caretaking is cleaning, and talk to your union. If it is an unsafe place for you to be working that now then you should be able to be accommodated.
  • I am not doing any more of the cleaning myself but the problem is I have already done things I apparently wasn't supposed to. We have had the mice for months this year and I had no idea their droppings could be so harmful to my baby. It literally says "if you breathe in the air that has been swept and dust has been brought up, you could get the virus and show no symptoms." I have talked to many people about my concerns and although they acknowledge my fears, I feel that overall I am not being taken seriously and treated like I'm paranoid. At this point, my concern is that even if I do everything to protect myself from this moment on, I have already put myself at risk because I have cleaned and organized things in my room throughout the year, unknowingly. I am planning to get someone to remove any bin I have on the floor and I am going to try to not touch anything in my room. The custodian staff said they will mop all around it to get rid of the droppings. I'm not in the room when they do any of this, I just can't stop worrying about the fact that I've already been "exposed"multiple times. Should I ask to get tested? I'm seeing my doctor soon and plan to talk to them about my anxiety about this. It's not healthy to deal with this much anxiety either and I feel awful.
  • @hope8119 definitely discuss it with your doctor if you are worried. 
  •  The best way to deal with the anxiety will be to get tested and know for sure.  I would ask to be tested, and if your OB won’t order it, then ask your primary care physician. 

    As far as the school system, write a detailed email or Word doc that gives dates and/or time ranges and documents both your actions and those of the school (both admin and custodians). Stick to the facts and don’t worry about how your principal will feel about receiving it. Include a request for pest management services.
    Send this document to both your principal and human resource department. Give human resources a call as well, and speak to the person who will receive your email.  

    You may be surprised by the quick response to send out pest control. School systems are generally worried about lawsuits and sending a detailed written document will get them moving. Don’t leave it at the level of verbally telling your principal. They are not a health professional and there’s no point waiting for them to handle it if this mice infestation has been going on this long. This is not only a health issue for you, but for everyone in the building.

    My husband works for CDC and I was a teacher for 15 years. Chances are that you are ok, but follow through with documenting this and getting it to human resources. Your principal should have been the responsible adult on this a while ago, but now you are in a good position to get this taken care of for everyone. If your principal is really immature they might not like it, but it will
    blow over fast because it’s not that hard of a pest control problem to fix. All school systems have a budget for this.

    Avoid sharing your emotions (or any details) about it with co-workers, it just creates more drama. Get it in writing, send it and avoid confrontation with your principal. It will blow over faster that way. Honestly, it’s basic pest control and they know they are responsible for it.

    Sorry you are dealing with such anxiety during your pregnancy. There’s a saying I like in Spanish, “No hay que preocuparse, hay que ocuparse”... Don’t get worried, get busy. You will find many times where YOU’RE the adult in the room, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease!  Honestly, you’re not asking for much. Keep that in mind if you’re confrontation-averse. People willing to make a health issue a power struggle are ridiculous. It’s a good opportunity for you to self-advocate and make sure everyone in your school is safe, too. Good luck! Stay strong! 💪🏼 


  • +1 to the above. And I say definitely ask for the testing. Knowing is the only way you are going to feel better, and you shouldn't have to spend 5 more months being anxious about this.
  • Hi! I am currently four weeks pregnant and completely freaking out because I have been exposed to wild mice and have even cleaned their droppings/urine myself before knowing I was pregnant and also prior to knowing this could be a potential risk. Would love to hear the outcome of your pregnancy! I am extremely worried. Thank you so much!
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