Health Officials Urge Caution Against Hantavirus - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Health Officials Urge Caution Against Hantavirus

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Gallatin County Officials urge residents to use caution when spring cleaning after hantavirus took the life of a woman last year.

Hantavirus is a disease spread through the urine, droppings and saliva of infected rodents.
 
"It's pretty hard to catch this disease," said Matt Kelley, Gallatin County Health Officer. "The way that people really contract hantavirus disease is by being in a confined space where they are breathing in dust where there is relatively fresh mice droppings."

The virus is mainly transmitted to people when they breathe in contaminated air with the virus. But, Kelley said there are ways to prevent the spread.

"Before you go in an open the area up, air it out and let the sunlight come in as much as possible," said Kelley. "Then, mix up a bleach solution that you can spray in the area to kill the pathogens that could potentially make you sick."

Kelley said when cleaning infected areas, you should never use a vacuum.

"People want take a vacuum to it, but that tends to kick up the dust and create the problems," said Kelley.

Early symptoms of the virus include fatigue, fever and muscle aches. Late symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath as the lungs fill with fluid.

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