Health officials are reminding Saskatchewan residents to take precautions against hantavirus infections. Deer mice, the animal that carries the disease, are present throughout Saskatchewan.
There have been four hantavirus cases reported this year, including two recent deaths. The most recent death occurred in an adult in northern Saskatchewan.
Symptoms of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome include fever, muscle aches, cough, headaches, nausea, and vomiting followed by shortness of breath and respiratory failure. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare but usually severe disease that can lead to death.
"Seek medical attention immediately if you develop a fever, muscle aches, coughing and shortness of breath within one to six weeks of exposure to mouse-infested areas," Saskatchewan's Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Denise Werker said.
Hantavirus is transmitted by breathing in contaminated airborne particles from the droppings, urine and saliva of infected deer mice.
"People should be aware of mouse droppings and nesting materials when cleaning buildings," Werker said. "Take precautions to prevent direct contact and inhalation of particles that may be contaminated."
There have been 30 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome reported in Saskatchewan since 1994, 10 of which resulted in death.
For more information about hantavirus and how to prevent infection, visit the Ministry of Health's website atwww.health.gov.sk.ca/hantavirus and HealthLine Online at www.health.gov.sk.ca/healthline-online.
Guidelines for the public and workplaces are also available at www.lrws.gov.sk.ca/hantavirus-disease-guidelines-protecting-workers-public.