Nevada Health officials are advising Nevada residents to use extra care around areas where rats and mice may have been living over the winter. Some of those rodents are infected with the hantavirus which makes people sick and some die. But the numbers are usually low.
One local case has been reported in Douglas County. An elderly gentlemen doing some spring cleaning around his property came down with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome – a disease that brings with it a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory infection.
State health officials say that the Hantavirus is rare – only 14 cases reported in areas of Nevada outside of Clark County since 2005. It can be spread to humans by some mice and rat species that shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. People are often exposed to the virus when they come in contact with nesting materials or by stirring up dust and then breathing it in while doing spring cleaning.
State health official say that precautions should include using extra care while cleaning by opening windows, avoiding vacuuming or sweeping dusty areas and wearing gloves and an N95 facemask while cleaning areas where rodent activity is obvious.