Two Utah Hantavirus deaths confirmed

- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Utah public health officials have confirmed two deaths as a result of hantavirus exposure.

The Utah Department of health says the deaths occurred in Millard and Salt Lake Counties.

UDOH did not release the names of the deceased.

UDOH officials say the deaths were confirmed to be the result of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a rare, but deadly, lung disease.

According to UDOH, HPS is spread by breathing in dust around rodent-infested areas that contain hantavirus, and is not spread from person-to-person.

UDOH says exposure happens when rodent urine and droppings that contain hantavirus become airborne.

UDOH warned of activities that can put people at risk, which include:
  •  Improperly cleaning up mouse and rat urine, droppings and nests.
  •  Cleaning a shed or cabin that has been closed for some time.
  •  Working in areas where mice and rats may live (such as barns).
Although HPS is rare, UDOH says infection can be prevented by avoiding contact with rodents and their droppings, while also trying to avoid any activities that might stir up dust around rodent-infested areas.

UDOH recommends that if residents clean rodent waste, they should wear masks and gloves, and also to also use bleach.

----Information from: Utah Department of Health.

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