How to Protect Yourself From the Hanta Virus
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health is reminding the public to take precautions and limit exposure to the Hanta Virus. Humans are most often exposed to Hanta Virus after sweeping or vacuuming rodent infected areas. The virus is transmitted by breathing in contaminated airborne particles from the droppings, urine and saliva of infected rodents. Individuals can also be exposed to the virus through rodent bites, if the skin is broken, or through ingestion. You can minimize the risk of becoming infected with hantavirus by avoiding contact with deer mice. Farmers, grain handlers, cottagers, campers and home owners, who are most likely to be exposed, should take precautions when cleaning rodent-infested areas to prevent direct contact and breathing in of air particles that may be contaminated. This includes ventilating the building by opening doors and windows for at least 30 minutes before cleaning, using wet mopping methods and wearing gloves.
There have been 23 cases of Hantavirus reported in Saskatchewan since 1994: four cases in 2004, one case in 2008, one case in 2010 and three cases in 2011. The most recent cases have been found in central parkland areas.