Tuesday November 25, 2014

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Saskatchewan reports Hantavirus death

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Saskatchewan has reported a death caused by the hantavirus in southern Saskatchewan.

Health officials are reminding people to take precautions following confirmation of the province's first fatal case of hantavirus in 2014.

Hantavirus infection is a rare but potentially fatal illness. The virus is transmitted by breathing in contaminated airborne particles from the droppings, urine and saliva of infected deer mice.

Symptoms of hantavirus include fever, muscle aches, cough, headaches, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, people develop a very severe and often fatal lung disease known as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.

"If you develop a fever, muscle aches, coughing and shortness of breath within one to six weeks of exposure to mouse-infested areas, you need to seek immediate medical attention," said Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Denise Werker.

The chance of contracting hantavirus infection in Saskatchewan is currently low; however, deer mice can be found in all areas of the province. People are reminded to take precautions when camping, opening their cottage, getting the RV or boat ready for the season, moving woodpiles or cleaning out buildings.

There have been 27 cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome reported in Saskatchewan since 1994, nine of which resulted in death. The average number of cases per year ranges from zero to four.


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