Public Health Emerging Issues – April 5, 2018

  • It’s time for Spring Clean Up in Grand Junction and many residents are going to begin opening up their sheds, cabins, barns and other outbuildings. Improper cleaning methods can put you at risk for Hantavirus.
    • Deer mouse urine, droppings and nesting materials can carry Hantavirus, which is spread by breathing in dirt and dust contaminated with deer mouse urine and feces.
    • Outbuildings that are typically closed for the winter sometimes become home to rodents, including deer mice, during the winter months.
  • Preventive measures will help keep you and your family healthy.
    • Air out outbuildings before cleaning and DO NOT sweep or vacuum in areas of potential contamination.
    • Use wet disinfectants for cleaning (1 part bleach to 10 parts water).
    • Wear gloves and masks when cleaning, and double bag waste.
    • Employ rodent control measures throughout the year.
  • No immunization or specific treatment exists for Hantavirus, so precautions are important. About 40 percent of those who contract Hantavirus die as a result of the infection.
  • Symptoms of Hantavirus can occur between one and eight weeks of exposure and can include fever, headaches, muscle aches, stomach problems, dizziness and chills.
  • Four to 10 days after the initial phase of the illness, lungs may fill with fluid causing shortness of breath.
    If you have Hantavirus symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
  • Mesa County Public Health investigates every reported case of Hantavirus to help prevent further exposure.

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