how common is hantavirus in massachusetts

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  • Jan 28, 2020

Hantavirus
Hantavirus

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Updated: October 2018

Hantavirus is a type of virus (germ) found in some rodents. Some hantaviruses can cause a rare but deadly disease in people called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).

The virus is carried by rodents, including rats. mice infected spread the virus in their saliva, feces, and urine. People are infected when they inhale dust that contains dried rodent urine or feces. The virus can also spread when dried materials contaminated by rodent droppings distracted and go into broken skin or the eyes, nose, or mouth. Rarely, people can also get HPS from a mouse or rat bite. Hantavirus is not spread from person to person.

HPS rare. Between 1993 and 2011, a total of 587 cases were reported in the United States. The majority of the cases identified in the Southwest, from the state of New Mexico, California, Arizona and Colorado. Until now, there has been no confirmed cases of HPS obtained in Massachusetts.

Many cases of HPS begins with flu-like symptoms. These symptoms are high fever, muscle aches, cough, and headache. After a few days these symptoms is rapidly deteriorating. The lungs fill with fluid, leading to severe respiratory problems. Most symptoms develop within two weeks affected.

HPS diagnosed with certain lab tests.

There is no specific treatment for HPS. Patients are usually given medical care support in the intensive care unit.

There is no vaccine to protect against hantavirus. The best way to prevent HPS is to avoid contact with rodents or their droppings, urine, and saliva-particularly in the area of ​​the United States where HPS is the most common. You can prevent rats from getting inside your home by sealing all openings larger than ¼ inch. You also have to reduce the rat nesting sites and food sources within 100 feet of your home. You can do this by removing trash and dense bushes. Keep all food (including pet food and water) and garbage in tightly closed containers, as this will reduce the source of attraction for rodents.

Do not sweep or vacuum mouse or rat urine, droppings or nests. This will cause dust particles to go into the air where they can breathe. Wear rubber or plastic gloves and spray the urine and / or feces with disinfectant or bleach and water mixture. Make sure you get dirty very wet area. Let the area soak for five minutes and then use a paper towel to wipe off. After throwing a paper towel in the trash, mop or sponge the area with disinfectant or bleach solution. Wash your hands before and after removing your gloves. For homes with severe flea problems, additional precautions and / or assistance from a professional pest control may be needed.

Wear rubber or plastic gloves when handling dead animals, including rodents. Spray dead rodents and the surrounding area with disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water. Let soak for five minutes. Place the dead animal in a plastic bag and seal tightly. Place the filled bag in a plastic bag and seal both. Threw the bag into the trash emptied regularly closed. Wash hands after removing gloves and dispose of gloves, carefully avoiding contact with the outer surface of the glove. rubber gloves can be reused should be cleaned with disinfectant or bleach solution.

Spanish and Portuguese translations of this fact sheet is available under the additional resources.

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