Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Infection concerns arise from Sin Nombre infected Mice in Riverside County

credit: National Cancer Institute Linda Bartlett (Photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - A fatal disease threatens residents in Southern California because mice in Riverside County were identified as having “Sin Nombre,” which is a virus that is a contributing driving force for developing hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in humans.

“Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare, but often fatal disease spread by rodents,” said state public health officer Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Dr. Champan explained that people who are cleaning enclosed spaces where wild mice have been living could be at a greater risk for catching the virus. He said places such as cabins, trailers, and other buildings that have a rodent infestation should be of high concern.

The infection is spread through urine, droppings, and saliva from the mice. The danger is at its highest when these infected excretions are stirred up into the air and breathed in by the person.

Symptoms of the HPS infection start with a fever, headache, and muscle aches. The infection moves rapidly to cause the infected person to have severe difficulty breathing. Some cases have caused death.

The CDPH reports that nationally there have been 587 cases of HPS since 1993, when it was first found in the US. Out of these cases, 57 people in California were infected and out of those infected 35 percent died.

Dr. Chapman recommends preventative measure to avoid getting a HPS infection. He suggests avoiding areas were wild rodents have been, especially indoor locations. If you have to clean up a rodent infestation, he said to wear plastic gloves and spray the rodent droppings and urine with a diluted bleach solution. Dispose of the bleached droppings and waste in double plastic bags with tight seals. After completing the area cleanup, make sure to wash hands thoroughly.

If you happen across live rodents, do not touch them. Wear gloves when you are taking out dead rodents, but make sure to spray with diluted bleach before handling the carcass. Again wash hands after handling the dead rodent.

Try to prevent the rodents from entering into buildings by sealing them well. Search for holes where they might enter. Seal food containers and keep them away from rodents. There may be stacked wood or other rubble that the mice might be making their home in; remove these items to avoid exposure to potentially infected rodents.

Lastly, if there is a large amount of rodents infesting the building or home, the CDPH recommends contacting a professional pest control service to exterminate them.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

ref: CDPH

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