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Can rabies virus be eliminated from an object through steam cleaning and treatment of Ozone?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1991
Answered : 2837 Questions
Last silly question--- @ 5 weeks ago i was about 5 feet from a dead racoon in the road. I didnt know if i stepped in any remnants or not because it was 430 in the morning. I drove my truck after that, later i was concerned that i could have gotten some animal remnants in my truck.

Fast forward 1 week later: i sprayed the area where i sat and drove with quandary ammoniua. After that shampooed it and vacumed, i dprayed it again with QA, shampoed and scrubbed the pedals. I sprayed it with QA again.

After that i had the interior steam cleaned and treated with ozone.

Over the the time since the invident the temps have ranged from 70f to -14

I ran heater in full blast 88 degrees for 6 hours at a time for several of the cold days because i read rabies dies in a few hours at room temps but cold lengthens its life.

Finally i had the carpet steam cleaned again and sprayed it again with QA.

Bottomline is my truck free of any infectious agents like rabbies after 5 weeks and multiple cleaning even though it was cold below freezing the last two weeks. Have i done enough to clean it. Honestly i dint know if i stepped on anything or thete was anything in my truck just being super cautious, can my kids ride in my truck again
Tue, 5 Jun 2018 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 29 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:

Yes, your truck is free of transmissible rabies virus. Your kids can safely ride in the truck.

I want to share with you a statement made by the CDC about rabies that may reassure you:

"Rabies virus is transmitted through saliva and brain/nervous system tissue. Only these specific bodily excretions and tissues transmit rabies virus. If contact with either of these has occurred, the type of exposure should be evaluated to determine if postexposure prophylaxis is necessary.

Contact such as petting or handling an animal, or contact with blood, urine or feces does not constitute an exposure. No postexposure prophylaxis is needed in these situations.

Rabies virus becomes noninfectious when it dries out and when it is exposed to sunlight. Different environmental conditions affect the rate at which the virus becomes inactive, but in general, if the material containing the virus is dry, the virus can be considered noninfectious."
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can rabies virus be eliminated from an object through steam cleaning and treatment of Ozone? 1 hour later
Due to a the cleaning, time or both

Or because there was no real risk in the first place, I mean 1000s of people run on roads and nobody has ever gotten it that way
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 41 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
There wasn't a significant risk because even if

1. The raccoon had rabies and then
2. You stepped all over it
3. It would have been on your shoes and then possibly on the pedal/floor of the truck wherein it would have dried fairly quickly. Once dried, it would no longer be able to cause infection. Even if there was blood or fluid from the central nervous system of the animal, it would have been a thin layer and dried, both on your shoes and in the truck, and then would not be infectious.

Just for reference, I have a friend (who is an RN) who along with a partner, rehabilitates injured and sick adult wild raccoons, handles and plays with them, without protective clothing. Sometimes the raccoons have infections when they come to them and have diarrhea. Invariably my friend and her partner are scratched accidentally. They have never tested their patients, never gotten rabies, and never taken rabies prophylaxis. I cautioned my friend about rabies in the past as I had learned this was not a safe practice, but after many years I'm not sure which of us is right. This is in Wisconsin, but looking up CDC charts it doesn't look like there have been rabid raccoons identified in Missouri when data was organized a few years ago. For more recent information specific to Missouri, you can look up animals examined for rabies per month including last year. Here's the link for it. You'll have to copy and paste it into your address bar to see it as it won't "link" properly here:

The last case of rabies in a human that was contracted from a raccoon in the US, was 7 years ago in North XXXXXXX (August 2011). So you can see how rare it is.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can rabies virus be eliminated from an object through steam cleaning and treatment of Ozone? 3 minutes later
Thanks that really helps!!!

But even if the worse case was my cleaning sufficient?

And after cleaning it couldn't get on other shoes and some how be tracked in the house?
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 3 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Yes, your cleaning was very thorough, highly sufficient.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can rabies virus be eliminated from an object through steam cleaning and treatment of Ozone? 1 minute later
Thank you !!!
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 minute later
Brief Answer:
Your welcome!

Detailed Answer:
Your welcome! I hope you can rest easy now, knowing that you have done everything and are not at risk.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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