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Hantavirus strikes in the San Luis Valley

Brief by Central Staff

Disease – July 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

An 18-year-old man in Costilla County became Colorado’s first fatality of 2000 from hantavirus, a disease carried by mice.

The Colorado Department of Health warns rural residents to be cautious in cleaning barns and outbuildings where deer mice live. If there are signs of live rodents, get an exterminator. If there are mouse droppings, ventilate the area, and wet down all dust and droppings with a solution of bleach and water (1 cup to 1 gallon) before cleaning. And to be a littler safer, wear a dust mask while cleaning.

Hantavirus symptoms begin one to six weeks after exposure. They include headache and fever, severe body aches, and vomiting. Respiratory difficulties follow, and about half of all cases are fatal. There is no known treatment.