Health briefs: VNA reminds residents to protect themselves from Hantavirus
April 24, 2016
Steamboat Springs — VNA reminds residents to protect themselves from Hantavirus
The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association advises precautions when cleaning — or just being in — areas inhabited by rodents.
Hantavirus is a serious, potentially fatal respiratory disease carried primarily by deer mice, which can be abundant in rural areas. Cases and deaths from the virus have increased in Colorado over the past several years; most cases occur in the spring and summer.
People can be infected by breathing in dirt and dust contaminated with deer mouse urine and feces. The illness can begin one to six weeks after exposure. Early symptoms are fatigue, fever and muscle aches and may also include pain in the legs and back, headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems.
If a person experiences these symptoms and has potentially been exposed to rodents, they should seek medical attention immediately. Hantavirus can be prevented by avoiding areas infested by rodents and following safety recommendations when cleaning up possible rodent food sources and nesting sites around the home, work areas or campsite.
For information about safely cleaning rodent areas, go to cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/.
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