For those of us following any news outlet worth a bean the last couple of months, we have been reminded of the overly spooky virus named the hantavirus. It honestly sounds like something that popped out of 1986 Halloween Trick or Treating lore but it’s not. Knowing this is a legitimate threat, we all want to know, “How do I avoid the Hantavirus?”
Most of the time when we think about the history of diseases, we think about specific events from long ago. We might flip back to the flu from 1918. Or maybe we think ring around the rosie and go back to the plague in 1350. When it comes to Covid, swine flu, bird flu, etc. we pretty much consider those current events.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome has an interesting mix. The first well-documented outbreak where it really hit the medical radar was in the 4 corners of the US in 1993. Since then, tissues of adults that died of unexplained adult respiratory distress syndrome were studied which linked HPS back to Utah in 1959.
There are 5 known hantaviruses and only 2 of them are in the United States. The prospect Hill Hantavirus is carried by meadow voles, but fortunately for us is not known as a human disease. While we may still detest the damage that voles do to our yards, at least they aren’t trying to kill us.
Sin Nombre Hantavirus is the one to watch out for. The name itself has a very enemy-of-Harry-Potter kind of feel to it. This version of the Hantavirus is carried by the deer mouse in North America. It has a pulmonary pathology and an estimated mortality rate of 50%! With numbers like that, we should all be asking how do I avoid the Hantavirus?
Deer mice carry the hantavirus but don’t seem to get sick from it. Instead, they make their way into our homes and businesses through cracks and holes as small as 1/4 inch. Once inside, they may hide deposits of the hantavirus anywhere they leave their:
Keep in mind this may be in an attic, basement, living quarters as they scoot through hunting for food, or could even be where food is stored.
The best way to avoid the hantavirus is to know how it enters. It is an airborne pathogen, so it is the breathing it in that we need to be wary of. Here is the step by step list of hacks to avoid the hantavirus:
- Keep the mice out through routine exclusion
- If mice get in, get them out quickly – don’t procrastinate
- Wherever mice have been, spray the area with a disinfectant to neutralize pathogens as well as keep things from going airborne
- If vacuuming an area that may have had deer mice, use a HEPA filter vacuum.
- If there is a chance that anything could already be airborne, don’t enter the area without an appropriate mask
Remember that mice can jump and run straight up walls.
Dealing with mice can be frustrating. Dealing with Hantavirus enters a whole new level. The best news of the day is you don’t have to enter this invisible war zone on your own. The rodent experts at Rove Pest Control are here to help and take the battle off your hands. Reach out today to find out how we can best help you.