Posted: Apr 13, 2012 3:36 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center
KALISPELL - The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has confirmed a case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in a Flathead County resident.
This case is one of 35 HPS cases reported in Montana since 1993. While Montana typically sees one to two cases a year, this is the third reported in 2012.
The Flathead City-County Health Department wants to remind residents that there are steps they can take to protect themselves against infection from Hantavirus.
Hantavirus cases often increase as people begin to clean their garages and sheds in the warmer spring weather. Cleaning activities can disturb nesting materials contaminated with dried saliva, urine or droppings from infected deer mice.
The disturbed nesting materials become airborne and the air is inhaled causing an exposure to the virus. This exposure leads to a Hantavirus infection. A person might also be infected with Hantavirus if contaminated materials are directly introduced into broken skin or into the eyes or mouth.
Symptoms can begin one to six weeks after becoming infected with the virus. The illness typically starts with three to five days of "flu-like" symptoms including fever, sore muscles, headaches, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Within a few days the illness rapidly progresses to severe shortness of breath.
Health officials say the best way to prevent Hantavirus transmission is by controlling rodent populations in areas where you live and work.