Here’s What You Need to Know About Hantavirus

July 3, 2018 3:25 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Have you heard of hantavirus? This virus, transmitted by rodents, can be deadly. Even those who don’t expect to be exposed can be at risk, so it’s important to be familiar with the virus and its symptoms. Following is an FAQ to educate yourself about this infection and how to prevent it. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact your local providers of biohazard consulting in Aspen, CO.

What is hantavirus?

Hantavirus is a virus carried and spread by rodents that causes serious disease in humans.

How are humans infected with hantavirus?

Deer mice, cotton rats and rice rats are known carriers of the hantavirus in the U.S. The urine, droppings and saliva from these rodents spread the virus. When humans breathe air that has been contaminated by these leavings, they can get infected with the virus. This is the most common mode of infection.

A human can also contract the virus if a rodent with the virus bites them, if the person touches something that is contaminated by rodent droppings or if they eat food contaminated by infected rodents.

What are the symptoms of hantavirus?

Hantavirus causes muscle aches, fatigue and fever. Some people also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and abdominal pain. After the initial phase of infection, later symptoms appear. These include shortness of breath and coughing. The virus can be fatal and has a mortality rate of 38 percent.

Who is at risk for hantavirus?

If a person comes in contact with rodents that carry hantavirus, they are at risk. Activities that could put a person in contact with saliva, urine or droppings from infected rodents pose a risk. Because infection occurs through airborne transmission, activities that could raise dust from nesting materials or other particles that contain the virus are possible sources of infection.

Potential at-risk activities include opening or cleaning sheds, barns, garages or storage facilities that have been closed for a long period of time, cleaning rodent-infested areas of the home, working construction in crawl spaces or under buildings and camping or hiking in areas with rodent habitats.

How can I prevent hantavirus infection?

There are two important steps to preventing the spread of hantavirus. First, keep mice and rats out of your home. Take the appropriate steps to make your home uninviting and inaccessible to these rodents.

Second, clean up after rodents appropriately. If you discover mice or rat droppings, urine or nesting materials, clean these with disinfectant or bleach and water. Do not sweep or vacuum up the mess, as this will distribute the virus into the air and allow you to breathe it in and become infected. When you clean, use rubber gloves, and spray the mess with the disinfectant or water and bleach, soaking it thoroughly. Let it sit for five minutes, then clean it up with paper towels. Then, mop the area with additional disinfectant.

Wash hands thoroughly after removing gloves. If the gloves are not disposable, be sure to disinfect the gloves before removing them.

Call for Backup

Do you suspect your property is infested with rodents? Don’t take any chances. Contact your local source for biohazard consulting in Aspen, CO to investigate the situation and determine the appropriate next steps. HealthSafe Inspections Inc. offers the expertise you need. Our services include on-site investigation and sampling, report writing, recommendations and post-remediation verification. Contact us today!

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