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LAS CRUCES — As the weather becomes warmer in New Mexico, it is important to follow a few simple steps that can help prevent the spread of diseases such as Hantavirus and plague.
Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in the aerosolized virus. The deer mouse is the main carrier for Hantavirus in New Mexico.
Early symptoms of Hantavirus are fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cough. These symptoms develop within one to six weeks after rodent exposure. Although there is no specific treatment for Hantavirus, chances for recovery are better if medical attention is sought early.
To protect yourself from Hantavirus:
• Air out closed up buildings before entering.
• Seal up homes and cabins so mice can’t enter.
• Trap mice until they are all gone.
• Clean up nests and droppings using a disinfectant.
• Put hay, wood and compost piles as far as possible from your home.
• Get rid of trash and junk piles.
• Don’t leave your pet’s food and water where mice can get to them.
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