SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. - A case of the deadly Hantavirus has been confirmed in Skagit County, officials said.
This case is one of four Hantavirus cases this year that has been confirmed in Washington state. The disease can be deadly and roughly one in three people who contract the virus have died.
Hantavirus is carried by deer mice and is found in their urine and droppings. Individuals can become infected if they breath in contaminated dust or particles, if they touch the rodent urine, dropping or nest materials and then touch their eyes, mouth or nose, health officials said.
The virus is not spread through person to person contact.
The CDC recommends the following steps if you plan to clean potentially rodent-infested areas:
- Do not stir up dust by vacuuming, sweeping, or any other dust-generating means.
- Wear rubber, latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves.
- Thoroughly wet contaminated areas including droppings, dead mice, and nests with a bleach solution or household disinfectant. Bleach solution: Mix 1½ cups of household bleach in 1 gallon of water. Use only freshly mixed solution.
- Once everything is soaked for 10 minutes, remove all of the nest material, mice or droppings with damp towel and then mop or sponge the area with bleach solution or household disinfectant.
- Spray dead rodents with disinfectant and then double-bag along with all cleaning materials and debris. Throw out rodent in an appropriate waste disposal system.
Symptoms of Hantavirus appear between one and eight weeks after exposure, and include the sudden onset of flu-like symptoms: Fever, head and muscle aches, followed by shortness of breath or other breathing issues. People who have recently been in areas where rodents are likely to nest, and are experiencing these symptoms, are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider.
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