Spring is upon us and many of you have already begun spring cleaning, and the Mesa County Health Department wants to warn you to avoid exposure to hantavirus!
According to the experts, it is especially important to take precautions while cleaning areas where mice or mouse droppings are present including:

  • homes
  • sheds
  • out buildings
  • cabins
  • barns
  • stored vehicles, recreational vehicles & equipment
  • and other places

The MCHD says, hantavirus can be a very dangerous and even deadly disease which is caused by a virus carried primarily by deer mice.

You can tell the difference between these and regular mice by their color - brown on top and white underneath and also by their large ears.

Infected rodents then excrete the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva -- ewe.

The droppings then contaminate dirt and dust which people inhaling thereby infecting themselves.

The good news? Hantavirus is rare, Colorado only averages about four cases each year.

The bad news? There is a 38 percent mortality rate associated with the virus.

Symptoms According to the Mesa Country Health Department

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever, and muscle pain, especially in the larger muscle groups such as thighs, hips, back and sometimes shoulders. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Four to 10 days after symptoms start, a person will develop a cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing due to fluid build-up in the lungs. This can quickly progress to respiratory failure and can be life-threatening. Symptoms can occur from a few days to as long as 6 weeks after exposure.

Some Precautions You  Can Take

  • Open doors or windows to provide good ventilation for 30 to 60 minutes before cleaning out structures.
  • Avoid stirring up dust by watering down areas of mouse infestation with a mixture of bleach and water. Wear gloves.
  • Rodent-proof buildings by plugging holes or other mouse entryways.
  • In rural areas, conduct year-round rodent control using traps or poisons, or hire a professional exterminator. Don’t wait until the mouse population spikes.
  • Make home or work areas unattractive to rodents by keeping indoor areas clean, especially kitchens. Store food in rodent-proof containers. This includes pet, livestock and bird food. Properly dispose of garbage in sealed containers.

If you need more info contact the Mesa County Health Department at 248-6969.

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