Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is an infectious viral disease that can cause severe respiratory failure in humans. Unfortunately, 40-50% of infected people may die if not promptly treated. The hantavirus is usually spread when people inhale virus particles from the urine, feces, and saliva of infected deer mouse or cotton rat. The common symptoms of hantavirus are fever, respiratory distress, hypotension, and gastrointestinal pain. However, the only way to properly diagnose the hantavirus is from blood tests. The treatment of this deadly disease includes respiratory care and fluid replacement.
The best way to deal with hantavirus is by prevention. Discuss rodent treatment options in and around your property with your licensed pest management professional (PMP). When cleaning any area that might have rodent droppings or urine, avoid stirring up the area. Wet down the area with a proven disinfectant (1/2 cup bleach in a gallon of water works). Be careful when handling any chemicals, including cleaning agents. If not properly used, they can be dangerous as well. Although hantavirus does not kill rodents, wear proper mask and gloves when removing dead rodents or nesting material in infested garage, attics, crawlspaces, etc. While hantavirus cases are rare in Minnesota (2 cases since 1993), it is still important to establish an integrated rodent management program in your property.