Health officials issue warning about hantavirus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — State health officials are reminding Montana residents to take steps to avoid hantavirus, which can be contracted when cleaning out cabins or sheds where infected deer mice may have been living.

Karl Milhon is with the health department's Communicable Disease Bureau. He says one to two people per year contract the virus when they breathe air contaminated with the virus. He says it's important to avoid actions that raise dust if signs of rodents are present.

When cleaning areas where rodents may nest, officials recommend using rubber or plastic gloves and spraying or soaking the area with a mixture of bleach and water to reduce dust and disinfect the area.

Early symptoms of hantavirus are similar to the flu. Severe cases can lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which can be fatal.

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