Hantavirus Case Linked To Home Cleaned Out On TLC's 'Hoarders' TV Show

First of all, whoever is volunteering to help clean out homes on TLC’s Hoarders: Buried Alive, you are a better person than most of us, because sorting through piles of stuff/garbage/cats/whathaveyou can’t always be a fun time. Especially for at least one person who has reportedly contracted hantavirus — the same disease that has killed three people who visited Yosemite National Park — after filming a recent episode of the reality TV show in Texas.

The person apparently got hantavirus after working to clean out a local home as part of a 29-person team. All those on the set have been notified that they could have caught it from rodents or their excrement in the house. It can’t be passed from person to person.

Neighbors of the afflicted home aren’t too surprised about the outbreak, after all, it needed the intervention of a reality TV show to get whipped into shape.

“There had been times when it has been clean,” said one neighbor. “And then six months would go by and those weeds are taller than us. And, you know, so yeah, it was bad.”

The community felt for the family that lived there, which is why so many volunteered to work on the house in August. It’s empty now due to the health risk. Meanwhile at Yosemite, the park has warned visitors from other nations as well as the U.S. that they could be at risk for contracting hantavirus if they were at the park this summer. The disease has flu-like symptoms and so far, there’s no cure.

Hantavirus case linked to home featured on TLC’s “Hoarders” [WTVR]


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  1. TrustAvidity says:

    Hoarding: Buried Alive** Hoarders is the A&E show.

  2. Boiled for your sins says:

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  3. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    It’s a miracle this didn’t happen to me when I helped shovel out my late mother in law’s house. It was just like on one of these shows. We found mummified rats and mice in amongst the piles of old clothes. It was really, really horrible. It never occurred to me to wear a mask, although as hot as it was in there, I’m not sure I could have kept it on for long.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Mummified rodents? Sweet mother of Christ!

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        You have no idea how gross this stuff really is up close until you have to clean it up personally. Yes, there were mummified dead rodents, probably killed by the rat poison she had put out in years past. We threw out food that had no sell by dates, so you know how old that had to be. We literally used snow shovels to clean out her bedroom.

        The absolute worst thing I cleaned there was the giant chest freezer on the porch. She unplugged it at some point one winter (we don’t know why, it was probably the dementia starting), and no one realized it until early June. It was 2/3 full of maggot soup. The stench was enough to knock you out. And yes, it had to be hand dipped with buckets to make it light enough to get off the porch and into the truck to haul away. Abso – freakin’ – nasty – hands down the grossest thing I ever did.

        • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

          I would have opened it, poured in a gallon of bleach, closed it, and came back the next day. Also, chest freezers usually have a drain port on the side/bottom. Just sayin.

          • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

            You really can’t use the drain when there’s a ton of solid stuff in there, like plastic wrap, styrofoam, and bones to clog up the hole. Plus, the residual crap would still have to be mucked out before moving it.

            I put Vick’s vapo rub in both nostrils, and went to work. It didn’t take long.

            • Cor Aquilonis says:

              Too bad you didn’t call some septic tank guys. I bet they could’ve vacuumed that sucker out in no time.

            • grumpygirl says:

              Oh, Vick’s is *wonderful* for that sort of thing. I manage a community mental health clinic and we always keep a jar in the chart room for when we get a client that hasn’t bathed in a while. What a life saver!

        • Aliciaz777 says:

          Omg, and here I thought that the time I helped clean out my aunt’s apartment was bad. She has an apartment building she rents out in a low income neighborhood and when the tenants moved out, she paid me, my husband and her daughter to go clean it for her. There were cock roaches EVERYWHERE, along with rotten food, mice or rat poop, and other nasty stuff. When I opened up the fridge I stumbled back from the smell. But it seems we got off light with this apartment when compared to what you had to clean.

        • Kestris says:

          I hate to say it, but this reminds me of the one and only time I ever visited my brother’s apartment. He moved out of state right before they served the eviction notice. I can only imagine what it looked like when the apartment complex went in to clean it.

      • HoJu says:

        Right? Why would his mother in law want to wrap all these rats and mice in gauze?? :)

    • Banished to the Corner says:

      We actually had this concern when we cleaned out my parents home. My mother had passed away a few years earlier; one of my brothers found out my father had been given a final notice by the county to clean up the storm debris from the previous winter. In Sept. we all descended upon the home & yard, but there was so much in the yard, we only had time to clean it, the kitchen, utility room, and bathroom. It took me 3 hours to clean the bathroom, the toilet was almost black. We didn’t have any vermin or vermin bodies because my father had several cats – all with full access to the outdoors, and all fixed. The cats were good little hunters and made sure the vermin didn’t take over. We did, however, find so much rotten food.

  4. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    Barely anyone on those shows wears proper PPE. Whenever they are cleaning out houses, 9 times out of 10, they have them in basic “dust masks”, which are the paper ones you see with the metal band on the nose. For light duty, they will do, but you can’t really exert yourself in them, because they are plain paper, rarely are fitted correctly, and as you exhale, they become moist and begin to prevent air movement in and out, and it usually escapes past the nose, fogging up goggles. You can usually upgrade to N90-N95 masks, with the little valve on the front that permits your exhaled breath/moisture to escape outwards instead of onto your goggles, and provides better protection. BUT, when you upgrade past the dust masks, you can’t hear people, which makes them bad for TV.

    When I worked scanning packages for “dangerous substances”, they gave me a N95 mask, because that was the training I received, and to upgrade to a half face respirator with P100 filters would require OSHA training and fitting, and they didn’t want to spring for it. Since my life/safety was on the line, I forked over the $20 for a 3M half face with P100 filters, did my own fitting from what I read on OSHA’s website and other websites, and it made wearing a mask easier. Luckily I never encountered anything that could have killed me, but if I did, I would have been protected.

    • RandomLetters says:

      I wouldn’t trust one of those dust masks for even light duty when dealing with an airborne virus like hanta.

  5. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    Also: ““There had been times when it has been clean,” said one neighbor. “And then six months would go by and those weeds are taller than us. And, you know, so yeah, it was bad.””

    I love how the neighbors associate house cleanliness with how tall weeds are outside. Like them mowing instantly also cleaned out the inside of the house, and the horde grew just like weeds in less than a year.

    • Abradax says:

      Its a good indicator. If you aren’t taking care of the outside, you probably aren’t taking care of the inside.

      • somedaysomehow says:

        Unfortunately this is very much not true. My grandmother and mother are both serious hoarders (to the point they’d probably qualify for one of these shows), and my grandmother has a yard guy that comes regularly, and my mother (in her late sixties) shares the mowing responsibilities for her yard with her husband. They do it religiously. You’d never know that out back there is a BARN filled with junk, and that in the house there is a bathroom and kitchen that go MONTHS without being cleaned, a room entirely filled floor-to-ceiling with junk, and a completely trashed rest of the house. It’s really sad.

    • RedOryx says:

      Well, I think the logic is that if someone takes care of the outside then they probably take care of the inside.

    • josephpr says:

      I know a couple who bought a house where it looked good outside, and the owners dressed well, and showed no indication of what it was like inside. It was nasty – to the point where the rodents got inside the refridgerator and died there. Eww.
      Too bad Hoarder shows weren’t on then. They could have made some money off the cleanout.

  6. Shampoo Lies says:

    Isn’t Hoarders and 19 Kids and Counting basically the same show?

  7. Snapdragon says:

    Ugh… Why on earth did the network not give them masks?

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      The network doesn’t film these shows. A production company who sell the show to the network does. And they do give them masks. But they are not the proper kind for the work they do. They usually give them standard dust masks, but they usually only are held to the face by a string, will become saturated with exhaled moisture, and don’t have valves to let exhaled moisture/breath out the front. What happens then is that the hot breath comes out the sides of the masks, and will fog up glasses, so people will remove them to breath easier.

      Also, the better masks don’t allow you to easily/clearly hear the “hoarding professionals” berate the hoarders.

  8. Raekwon says:

    I’ve helped with a couple of houses like this except one difference, the one guy was an Antiques Collector and not a hoarder. They are disgusting. He would always donate food to people too. It was a nice gesture but the locals warned everyone to never eat anything he served them. The other place I helped with had a crazy old cat lady who slept on the uncovered porch. The ammonia smell of hundreds of cats urinating on everything is something I never want to repeat.

    • fjordianslip says:

      The smell of cat urine alone should be enough to convince anyone in their right mind to never own a cat.

      I don’t see how because what he hoarded was different makes the hoarding inherently different. Still sounds nasty.

  9. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    I’m thinking our next door neighbor is a hoarder. His driveway is filled with old appliances, garbage, a couple mattresses, what’s left of a 12 year old pile of fire wood and a whole lot of other crap. We saw the inside of the garage once, it was PILED with stuff, no room to walk at all. We can see red squirrels going in and out of his attic vent. At one time he had a poor neglected dog that was kept in his yard (barking) most of the time (we had to give it water many times), the dog pissed on the AC unit so much that it rotted it out. The place looks gross.

    On top of that the house behind us is owned by another hoarder. It’s abandoned after he had it filled with so much stuff he he had to move out. I know it sounds like I live in some poor run down area, but actually it’s a very nice suburb. I’m so sick of hoarders and all their crap.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      There’s an odd-looking house setup in my neighborhood that I go past on my walks. It’s like a little house fronting on one street, and a larger one on the cross street. The big one has a ground-level dwelling and an attached two-story part. The top story looks as though it is balanced on the bottom, not attached at all. The porch is full of what appears to be remodeling material. The whole setup takes up the entire side of that block.

      In the yard is an old rusted out bus, an old limo with all the windows covered, an RV, and various odds and ends. One of the people who apparently lives in the big house I call “Old Elvis,” because he has this cloud of white hair in a huge 1970s poof. I’ve seen him driving the limo around, but apparently they’re not using it now. I don’t even want to know what the inside looks like.

    • NotEd says:

      Is it wrong that I briefly thought this said “…what’s left of a 12 year old in the garage”?
      I really must stop skimming these comments while trying to eat lunch. For multiple reasons.

  10. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    So, I am on track now to be proven right that “Reality TV” really is the death of us all.

  11. Shampoo Lies says:

    How long until Honey Boo Boo and her family get hantavirus?

  12. RynanEmery says:

    Places such as those shouldn’t be cleaned. They should be burned down.

  13. Czechmark says:

    Disease isn’t the only potential problem with hoarding. I’ve attached an article about a Toronto apartment fire caused by a tossed cigarette landing on a hoarder’s balcony, and utimately causing 1 million dollars in damage and leaving about 1200 people homeless for weeks and months.

  14. Kestris says:

    Every time I watch A&E’s Hoarders, I want go on a cleaning/tossing out binge. Thanks to that show, we now own less than 1/2 of what we moved here with 12 years ago. This was a good thing because we still had stuff in boxes from when we moved in.

    • chatterboxwriter says:

      I do my housecleaning while watching “Hoarders.” Since this show came on, I’ve given away hundreds of books, lots of craft and decorating items, etc. I just can’t stand the thought of all that clutter. So I guess the show is good for something!

  15. HoJu says:

    I always thought Hantavirus was was from the Krusty brand chewing gum that included spider eggs and Hantavirus.

  16. kataisa says:

    Nobody should enter and clean a hoarders’ home without wearing a mask and HazMat suit.