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Denver Records First Hantavirus Case In 25 Years Of Tracking

DENVER (CBS4) - Someone in Denver has been diagnosed with hantavirus.

It's a rare, but serious and potentially fatal virus often carried by deer mice.

The common house mouse does not transmit the virus, nor can the virus be spread from person to person or from pets to person.

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(credit: CBS)

Humans can become infected by breathing in the virus when stirring up dust from mouse nests or mouse droppings in areas with poor ventilation, or when handling or being bitten by mice.

There was no evidence of rodents during an inspection of the patient's home.

This is only the second case of hantavirus in Denver since tracking began in 1993.

deer mouse mice
Deer mice carry hantavirus (credit:

Hantavirus cases most often occur in rural or suburban areas. Deer mice can be identified by their large ears and white undersides.

Tips on preventing getting hantavirus provided by Denver Public Health:

  • Spray dust, dirt and rodent droppings, and dead rodents with a mixture of bleach and water (1 ½ cups of household bleach to one gallon of water) or other disinfectant. Allow the mixture to sit wet for at least 10 minutes before cleaning.
  • Wear rubber, latex or vinyl gloves and a dust mask when cleaning rodent affected areas.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water after cleaning areas affected by rodents.
  • Never vacuum or sweep areas where there is evidence of rodent infestation. Clean up debris while it is wet.
  • Remove wood, junk and brush piles near your home. Keep vegetation around the house well-trimmed.
  • Store human food, pet food and bird seed in covered containers.
  • Keep garbage in tightly covered cans.
  • Repair window screens and ensure weather-stripping is tight under all doors.
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