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Health Official Issues Warning About Hantavirus

Sonora, Ca — A Mono County man has tested positive for Hantivirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

Tuolumne County Health Officer Dr. Todd Stolp says that while the disease is very rare, it is something that local residents should take precautions to prevent.

“This particular virus comes from the droppings or urine from mice,” says Stolp. “Typically it shows up in individuals when they enter cabins that have been set aside during the winter time.”

Breathing small particles that have been stirred up into the air is the most common means of infection. The illness begins with fever, headache, and muscle ache and progresses rapidly to more severe symptoms.

Since HPS was first identified in 1993, there have been 48 cases in California. In 2006, four cases were identified in the state, three of which were fatal.

To prevent HPS, the following precautions are recommended:

-Avoid areas, especially indoors, where wild rodents are likely to be present.

-Spray diluted bleach on dead rodents found and areas contaminated with rodent droppings.

-Do not ever touch or handle live rodents.

-Keep rodents out of buildings by removing stacked wood, rubbish piles, and sealing any holes where rodents can enter.

-If there are large numbers of rodents present in a home or other building, contact a pest control service to remove them.

Written by BJ Hansen