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The Washoe County Health District Has Confirmed a Case of Hantavirus

By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, November 8, 2022 4:07 pm

The Washoe County Health District Has Confirmed a Case of Hantavirus

On November 8, the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) identified a case of hantavirus in a Washoe County resident.

According to authorities, the patient is a teenager who has been hospitalized. No other information is available, and the investigation is ongoing.

Since December 2020, this is the first hantavirus case reported in Washoe County. Since 2019, four incidents with one fatality have been documented.

Hantavirus is an uncommon respiratory ailment that can cause severe illness in people. It is transmitted by inhaling or touching virus particles after contact with infected rodents, most frequently deer mice. This generally occurs when working or playing in regions containing mouse droppings, urine, or saliva, or when cleaning up rodent droppings or nesting material.

The onset of Hantavirus symptoms might range from a few days to eight weeks following exposure. Fever, headache, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, chills, and dizziness all be among the initial symptoms. Four to ten days after the onset of the initial symptoms, coughing, shortness of breath, and fluid accumulation in the lungs develop.

There is no specific cure for hantavirus, but anyone exhibiting these symptoms after contacting deer mice or their excrement should seek emergency medical attention. If infected patients are identified and treated promptly, according to WCHD experts, health outcomes may improve.

WCHD officials provided cleaning advice for places with mouse activity:

  • Do not sweep or vacuum the area with urine, droppings, or nesting material.
  • A solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water should be used when cleaning urine and/or droppings (1.5 cups bleach to 1 gallon of water). Spray the solution on areas with rodent droppings and leave for 5 minutes before wiping the area with disposable paper towels or cloth.
  • Wear gloves (i.e., latex, vinyl, rubber) and a face mask to avoid touching or breathing in viral particles.
  • Identify areas where mice are and plug openings and set traps; a deer mouse can fit through an opening the size of a nickel.
  • Seek professional assistance from a licensed pest control operator for additional guidance to prevent deer mice from accessing household and living areas.

Credits: Fox Reno

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