Precautions to take against Hantavirus and Plague this time of year

If you think you or your pet may be sick, contact your doctor or veterinarian immediately.
Shed
Shed(Natasha Lynn)
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 12:11 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - With warmer air upon us and spring approaching, many people are cleaning out their homes, sheds and barns. However, it is important to be aware of a couple illnesses that are more common this time of year. Hantavirus and Plague are two separate dangerous, deadly illnesses to watch for.

Hantavirus is carried primarily by deer mice. The virus in excreted in their urine and droppings. People as well as animals are infected by inhaling airborne particles of the virus or by direct contact. To prevent this, do not sweep or vacuum. Instead, open windows and doors, then wet down the areas with a mixture of bleach and water. Then remove the material.

The other illness, Plague, is a bacteria carried by fleas that live on rodents. Such as mice, squirrels, chipmunks and prairie dogs. They can jump onto dogs or cats and bite them to infect them, or the diseased fleas can be carried into your home. Precautions to take include putting your dog or cat on a flea preventative, keeping your pets away from rodents, keeping all food inside so rodents cannot access it and avoiding handling dead animals.

Symptoms of Hantavirus show up as a respiratory infection and systems of the plague can vary. If you think you or your pet may be sick, contact your doctor or veterinarian immediately.

“Even though these diseases are very rare, they are high consequence diseases,” said Mesa County Public Health disease surveillance and emergency response manager Rachel Burmeister.

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