Hantavirus infection reported in Colorado
The first confirmed Colorado case of hantavirus in 2019 has recently been reported. This serves as a good reminder that the virus is found throughout the state, including northeast Colorado. Human cases occur infrequently. However, the illness is severe and potentially life-threatening if not identified early.
Hantavirus is a respiratory disease carried by mice and rats. The rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. In Colorado, the virus is mainly transmitted to people when they breathe in air or dust contaminated with deer mouse urine and feces, especially when cleaning out rodent-infested structures in and around their residences.
Not all rodents carry hantavirus, and there is usually no way to tell when a rodent has the virus. So, it is wise to avoid all contact with rodents when possible. There are no known cases of hantavirus being transmitted person-to-person in the United States.
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