Two contract hantavirus in Truckee
December 10, 2009
TRUCKEE and#8212;-Two Truckee-area residents who fell ill with the rodent-spread hantavirus late last month have since recovered.
The county office of environmental health reported two men, one middle-aged and a teenager caught and recovered from the virus in the last month.
The men live in different homes and neither owns rodents, a county official said.
Approximately 40 percent of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome patients die from the disease, which spreads from the urine and feces of rodents, said a county press release.
According to the National Centers for Disease Control, the virus is characterized by shortness of breath, muscle tightness and extreme fever.
“It can be contracted through airborne particles of rodent feces if they get stirred up,” said Wesley Nicks, director of the county’s environmental health office.
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Rodents such as deer mice generally carry the disease, Nicks said.
He said the county investigated both homes the hantavirus occurred in and called exterminators to the area.
While the disease is rare, Nicks said residents should be careful when entering homes that were unoccupied for a long period of time, as rodents may infest an area. The county offered a few tips for avoiding hantavirus:
– Spray an area thoroughly with diluted bleach if you think it’s contaminated. Wear plastic gloves and use a wet sponge to clean the area. Do not use a vacuum, as it is likely to stir the air and spread excrement particles.
– Do not touch or handle live rodents and wear gloves when handling dead rodents.
– If there are large numbers of rodents present in a home or other building, contact a pest control service to remove them.
To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail email@example.com or call (530) 477-4239.