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Casually Sweeping Up What the Local Wildlife Left Behind
Raccoons make their way into attics and garages, under porches and decks. Even once the creatures themselves are gone, they sometimes leave a clear sign of their presence: a communal toilet known as a latrine. If you find yourself having to clear the neighborhood raccoon loo off your property, you'd best do it very carefully. Raccoons—and their feces—harbor eggs from the Baylisascaris procyonis roundworm that can be harmful to people if ingested, even if only through dust stirred up at the cleaning site. The rare but often deadly hantavirus could also pose a risk to housecleaners in the Western U.S., particularly in rural areas where the virus and the mice that carry it generally are found. Since the virus is spread through the mice's droppings and urine, cleaning up after rodents that have moved in to escape a cold winter can make you sick—a likely reason most cases occur in spring.