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  • Feb 15, 2020

Hantavirus Precautions - Tri County Health
Hantavirus Precautions – Tri County Health

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is an infectious disease characterized by flu-like symptoms that can progress quickly to potentially life-threatening breathing problems.

Some hantaviruses can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. They were taken by several species of rodents, especially deer mice. You are infected primarily by breathing air infected with hantaviruses shed in rat urine and feces.

Due to the limited treatment options, the best protection against hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is to avoid rodents and their habitats.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome advances through two distinct phases. In the first stage, you may experience flu-like signs and symptoms that may include:

In the early stages, hantavirus infection is difficult to distinguish from influenza, pneumonia or other viral conditions. After four to 10 days, the signs and symptoms of a more serious begun. They typically include:

The signs and symptoms of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can worsen suddenly and can quickly become life-threatening. If you have been around rodents or rodent droppings and have signs and symptoms of fever, chills, muscle pain or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

Each type of hantavirus have a carrier rodent preferred. The deer mouse is the main carrier of the virus responsible for most cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in North America. Other hantavirus carriers include white-tailed mouse, cotton rat and rice rat.

Hantaviruses transmitted to people primarily through aerosolization of virus shedding in infected rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Aerosolization occurs when the virus was kicked into the air, making it easy for you to inhale. For example, a broom used to clean the mouse droppings in the attic may nudge into the air small particles of feces containing hantaviruses, which you can then easily inhale.

Once you inhale hantaviruses, they reach the lungs and begin to attack the tiny blood vessels called capillaries, eventually causing them to leak. your lungs then flood with fluid, which can lead to one of the respiratory problems associated with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

People who are infected with this strain of North American hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is not contagious to others. However, certain outbreaks in South America have shown evidence that is transmitted from person to person, which describes the variations in strain in different regions.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is most common in rural areas of the western United States during spring and summer. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome also occurs in South America and Canada. Other hantaviruses occur in Asia, where they cause kidney disorders rather than lung problems.

The opportunity to develop hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is greater for people who work, live or play in spaces where rodents live. Factors and activities that increase risk include:

hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can quickly become life-threatening. As the lungs fill with fluid, breathing becomes more and more difficult. Blood pressure drops and organs begin to fail, especially the heart. Depending on the strain of hantavirus, the mortality rate for the North American variety of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can be more than 30%.

Keep rodents out of your home and workplace can help reduce the risk of hantavirus infection. Try these tips:

Wet down dead rodents and areas where rats have with alcohol, household disinfectant or bleach. This kills the virus and help prevent infected dust stirred into the air. Once everything is wet, use a damp towel to pick up the contaminated materials. Then mop or sponge the area with disinfectant.

Take special precautions, such as wearing a respirator, when cleaning a building with severe rat infestation.

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