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Health Officials Warn Of Hantavirus In Central Oregon

OPB | March 21, 2011 7:19 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:05 a.m. | Bend, OR

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Health professionals are warning Oregonians to take caution during any spring cleaning this year. Authorities are concerned about a rare, but potentially deadly virus that’s recently turned up in Central Oregon.


The Hantavirus is transmitted by mice. In people, it brings on symptoms much like the flu. 

The virus made it’s first appearance in this country in the early 1990s after making its way over from South East Asia.

Dr. Emilio Debess is the state Public Health Veterinarian. He says people who come in contact with mouse droppings or a mouse nest should do what they can to keep from stirring it up into the air.

Emilio Debess: “You can spray it down with bleach and water, soap and water, anything that will prevent any dust from going into the air. Do not to use a vacuum cleaner right away. The point is not to create any aerosolized dust that may carry the organism.”

Last week, authorities announced a woman in her 30s died after contracting the disease in Deschutes County.

Debess says there’s only been about 16 cases in Oregon in the last two decades. The disease tends to be fatal for one in every five people who get it.

 

On the Web:

Hantavirus overview

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