Hantavirus Outbreak and Rodent Season

09/18/2012


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Hantavirus is an infection spread to humans through coming in contact infected rodents. In 2012, the summer outbreak in Yosemite National Park has sparked a panic among travelers. As mice become a prevalent pest in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area this fall, the threat of Hantavirus continues to be a concern for homeowners across the region.

When infected rodents’ excrement and urine dry and become airborne through dusting, vacuuming or just being disturbed in general, the virus may be inhaled and infect a human host. Getting bitten by an infected rodent can also spread the disease. Hantavirus cannot be spread from person to person. The symptoms associated with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (the disease caused by the Hantavirus) can be confused with those of the flu and include a fever and chills, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and belly pain, according to WebMD. The potentially deadly disease is carried mainly by deer mice but has also been found in rice rats, white-footed mice, and cotton rats.

In Maryland, Virginia, and DC residences, house mice are the most common critters to invade homes. That being said, deer mice and white footed mice can make an appearance in our area as well. According to the CDC, there have been no cases of Hantavirus reported in Maryland and one case in Virginia since the virus was first identified in 1993.

Rodents are likely to enter homes when the weather cools and food becomes more difficult to find outdoors. Sealing holes around cords and gaps under doors can be an important first line of defense when it comes to keeping rodents outside.  Keeping food thoroughly sealed in tamperproof containers can be another good barrier to keep rodents from contaminating food in your home. These preventative measures and catching the problem early can stop a small rodent problem from becoming an infestation. If you think you have a rodent problem, American Pest can help. We have a variety of service options so you can choose the perfect one for your home.






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