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Hantavirus Prevention Tips

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The Hantavirus is a disease spread from urine and droppings from certain mice and rats.

Infectious Disease Specialist at Saint Peter's Hospital, Don Skillman, says residents typically contract the virus when cleaning.

"That’s part of the problem. In the spring maybe when a cabin is opened up or if you're moving boxes around in the back of a barn or shed."

He says residents can be infected just by breathing contaminated air, so to take precautions before cleaning areas mice could nest in.

Skillman says before sweeping make sure to spray the floor with bleach or another antibacterial detergent.

"And let that soak in for a few minutes before you start to mop up or clean up with rags or sponges."

He says it can take up to five weeks for symptoms to start.
Normally a person will develop a high fever and muscle aches followed by acute shortness of breath.

"And that's the hallmark of the most serious complication from the Hantavirus is the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome which is a terrible lung infection.

Skillman says there is no vaccine or cure for the disease and 36 percent of those affected by hantavirus die from it.

"It’s a scary virus. It's important to follow those instructions when cleaning out barns and sheds because it's not just a virus that makes you sick. Where it can kill you more than one third of the time it should be taken very seriously."

Story by Kelley Smith, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2014 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved. 

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