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County Health Warns Against Spread of Hantavirus

County Health Warns Against Spread of Hantavirus
September 22
11:47 2016

The Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) is reminding individuals to take precautions to protect against Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). The disease is transmitted to people who come into contact or breathe infected urine, droppings and/or saliva of wild mice (primarily deer mice).hantavirus mouse

Cooler weather can attract rodents to the inside and outside of homes, potentially increasing the risk of HPS. The disease can be present throughout northern Arizona and where there is rodent activity. People who come into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus are at risk of contracting the disease. The illness has not been found to spread from person to person.

Five confirmed cases of HPS have been reported in Coconino County since Jan. 2006, resulting in two deaths from complications caused by the illness. Symptoms of the illness could be fever, headache and muscle aches progressing rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing and, in some cases, death.

To prevent HPS, public health officials recommend the following clean-up methods for areas that may have rodent activity:
§ Prior to starting cleanup, open all door and windows, especially in areas that have been closed for an extended period such as a garage, storage shed or second homes that are not used year-round. Leave open for 30 minutes before cleaning and if possible, allow direct sunlight on the area.
§ Do not stir up dust in the infested area by vacuuming, sweeping, or any other means. This will allow virus particles to go into the air, where they can be breathed in, and potentially causing infection.
§ When rodent droppings or nests are found in and around the home, spray them liberally with a household disinfectant (such as one-part bleach to nine parts water) and allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes. Any rodent droppings and rodent nests should be sprayed with a pesticide to kill fleas before disinfecting or disposing the carcasses.
§ After disinfecting, wear rubber gloves and clean up the droppings with disposable materials such as paper towels, rags or disposable mop heads.
§ Seal all materials, droppings or nests in double plastic bags and dispose of them in the trash.
Rodent-proof your home:
§ Prevent rodents from entering the home by plugging or sealing all holes and gaps to the outside greater than 1/4-inch in diameter. Use steel wool, thick wire screen, metal flashing or cement to seal holes.
§ Eliminate or reduce rodent shelter around the home by removing outdoor junk and clutter, and by moving woodpiles, lumber, hay bales etc., as far away from the house as possible.
§ Do not make food easily available to rodents. Do not leave pet food in dishes and dispose of garbage in trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
§ Prevent mice infestation inside your home with the use of traps and proper removal.

For more information regarding HPS, call the Coconino County Public Health Services District at 928-679-8750, toll-free at 877-679-7272 or visit

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