Re: Hanta Virus at Adopt-A-Cabin Sites

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Posted by Dezdan on November 27, 2002 at 15:48:49:

In Reply to: Re: Hanta Virus at Adopt-A-Cabin Sites posted by Dave on November 27, 2002 at 12:51:29:

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) has been found in just about all counties in Southeastern California. If you think it is only a myth, back in April of this year a boy in Mono County developed HPS after handling a mouse he found in his home. Luckily, the boy survived and has fully recovered, but not everyone is so lucky. In June of 1999 a young girl died after having contracted HPS while exploring a abandon Hospital building on the the Bishop Airport property where she lived. HPS death rate stands at around 43% of those infected, with 70% of the deceased having contracted HPS in rural areas very similar to those you might find at many of the Adopt-A-Cabin sites. 

HPS is transmitted to humans through contact with small rodents (mostly Deer Mice)  urine, droppings and saliva. This contact can be both direct or indirect. If you are sweeping up an area that contains rodent droppings or urine, or you are just disturbing an area by simply walking through it you could possibly inhale micro sized droplets containing the virus. Also, if you touch something that has been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings or saliva, and then touch your nose or mouth you could possibly contract HPS. 

The California Environmental Health Department advises the following precautions:

  • All cabins should be well-ventilated and aired-out before being occupied. Inspect for rodents and do not use cabins if there are signs of rodent infestation until the building has been cleaned using appropriate safety precautions.
  • Check the area for rodent droppings and burrows before sleeping outdoors.
  • Do not disturb rodents, burrows or dens.
  • Avoid sleeping near woodpiles or garbage areas that rodents might frequent.
  • Avoid sleeping on bare ground. Use elevated cots and mats if available.
  • Store food in rodent-proof containers and promptly discard all garbage.

With further studies being conducted throughout California, HPS is being discovered in areas that were originally thought to have been HPS free. For more information about HPS, visit the National Center for Infectious Diseases website.


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