What is Hantavirus?

Hantavirus is short for Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Hantavirus is an infectious disease that primarily spreads through the urine, saliva, or droppings of infected rodents. You can become infected by breathing air contaminated with Hantavirus. This disease is characterized by flu-like symptoms that may quickly progress to potentially life-threatening breathing issues.

While treatment options are still limited, the best protection against this disease is to avoid rodents and their habitats. If you notice rodents in your home or business, it is essential to have them removed safely and quickly to limit the risk of exposure to disease.

 

Damages in Homes

Along with spreading diseases, rats are quite pesky as they cause costly damage to floors, electrical wire, pipes, doors, ceilings, and more! Rats often go unnoticed until illness or physical damage to property occurs.

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    rat carrying food in its mouth

    Hantavirus in Rats

    The two species of rats that carry Hantavirus within the U.S. are rice rats and cotton rats. Humans contract this disease by inhaling respirable droplets of urine or saliva, or through the dust of feces from wild infected rodents. Humans can also become infected by ingesting contaminated food or water or if contaminated material enters broken skin. In North America, there have not been reports of person-to-person transmission.

    Rats are responsible for the spread of many different diseases. Rats are known for transmitting hantaviruses, jaundice, cowpox, rat-bite fever, plague, salmonellosis, and trichinosis. These pests can also introduce fleas into a home or business and contaminate food.

    Rat Habitat 

    Rats live in a variety of different habitats. These pests are very adaptable creatures and can survive just about anywhere they have access to food. While some rats live in the wild, others have adapted well to an urban lifestyle. 

    Rats living in the wilderness may be found in forests, woods, fields, and meadows. In urban areas, rats can live inside walls, attics, and basements. Rats can make their way into office buildings, apartments, hospitals, restaurants, warehouses, and homes. They fit through tiny openings or by chewing through wood, siding, or stone. Some rats live in sewers and underground areas such as maintenance tunnels and subways. They can even find their way into buildings from drains and pipes.   

    Often, rats search for warm places with easy access to food, and the materials needed to build their nests. 

    Other Rodents That Carry Hantavirus

    Within the United States, there are a few different rodents that carry Hantavirus. Along with rice and cotton rats, the white-footed mouse and deer mouse also transmit this disease.  

    Hantavirus Outbreaks

    The most recent outbreak of Hantavirus was in Yosemite National Park in 2012. There were ten confirmed cases for people who had recently visited the National Park. However, there are still cases throughout the U.S. each year. For example, California still had five confirmed cases of Hantavirus in 2018.  

    Hantavirus Symptoms

    Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome has two stages of advancement. During the first stage, you might experience flu-like symptoms. Signs include fever and chills, muscle aches and headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain, and more. It is hard to detect in the first stage because symptoms are similar to other viruses. When phase two begins, more severe and life-threatening symptoms can arise. 

     It is essential to consult a doctor immediately. Especially, if you have been near rodents or rodent droppings and have symptoms of chills, fever, muscle aches, or difficulty breathing.  

    You can read more about Hantavirus on the CDC’s website by clicking here.  

    Preventing Exposure

    The best way to avoid infection is by limiting exposure to rats, mice, and rodent habitats. Tips to avoid exposure include:  

    • Store all food, water, and garbage in heavy-duty metal or plastic containers with tight-sealing lids.  
    • Seal all holes in a structure. Mice can enter a property through a hole as small as a dime, and rats can pass through an opening as little as a quarter.  
    • Keep grass short and maintain any thick brush. Ensure woodpiles are away from the structure. 

    Noticing Signs

    If you see signs of rodents near your home or business, call a professional pest control company like A-1 Bonded Termite. Our team will inspect your property and safely remove rodents and signs of rodent activity. If you choose to clean up after rodents, treat all rodents and their droppings as if they are infected.  

    • At all times, use caution when cleaning up signals of rodents, handling any rodent material, or removing dead rodents. Perform any clean-up procedures by limiting airborne dust, wearing protective clothing, boots, disposable N95 masks, and gloves. Spray dead rodents with bleach and let it soak before removing them. Wash gloves thoroughly before taking them off. Afterward, ensure to wash your hands thoroughly as well. Dispose of all contaminated material within a sealed plastic bag. Also, disinfect all contaminated surfaces with a household bleach solution.  
    • If you set traps, dispose of rodents within a sealed plastic bag. 

    For heavy accumulation of rodent droppings, it is necessary to use professional removal methods and safety measures.  

     

    Do you see rodents around your home or business?

    Call the professionals at A-1 Bonded Termite for all of your extermination needs. Our pest control experts specialize in inspecting, targeting, and removing different types of pests, including mice and rats. Call A-1 Bonded Termite at 714-502-9230 to schedule your inspection! 

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