Hantavirus Remains a Potential Threat

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Hantavirus Remains a Potential Threat

The Wyoming Department of Health wants to remind people that hantavirus infection remains a potential health threat when mice get into closed locations and leave their droppings behind. A news release issued by the Department of Health states that infected rodents can infest garages, campers, cabins and barns and shed hantavirus through urine, droppings and saliva.

People can become seriously ill if they breathe in the infectious aerosols that are created when contaminated, dried materials are disturbed. Infection is also possible when the virus touches broken skin or mucous membranes, if it is swallowed or after bites. Infectious Disease Specialist Clay Van Houten says that people need to be aware of the threat of the virus.

Van Houten stated that if a building has been closed and unoccupied for a long time, doors and windows should be opened for ventilation at least 30 minutes before cleanup work begins. He added that when working in places that are especially dirty, dusty or infested with mice, extra protective clothing or equipment should be worn such as coveralls, shoe covers and special face masks known as respirators.

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