Health department advises caution to prevent hantavirus during spring cleaning

May 3, 2013

When you set out to tackle spring cleaning in your home or barn, the Wyoming Department of Health wants you to pay special attention to where mice might hide.

 Some mice carry hantavirus, which can cause fevers, headaches and abdominal pain in humans. It can sometimes be fatal. Health Department spokeswoman Kim Deti says people should be careful when cleaning any evidence rodents leave behind.
 “If they have the virus, they can leave it in a number of locations through their urine and their droppings and their saliva. So if some place perhaps has dried materials that were contaminated and someone goes in to clean, and they start moving all the materials around, the virus can spread into the air.” Hantavirus can also be contracted through cuts in the skin. The Department of Health recommends wearing gloves and spraying contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution before wiping droppings away. People should shampoo soiled rugs and upholstered furniture and use hot water to wash potentially-contaminated bedding.