DENVER – A rare and potentially fatal virus first recognized just over two decades ago has shown up in Denver recently.
Denver health officials announced Tuesday that a resident of the city was recently diagnosed with hantavirus. It’s the second case of the virus in Denver since tracking began in 1993, a news release stated.
The respiratory disease is carried by infected deer mice. But there was no evidence of rodents during an inspection of the infected person’s residence. Still, officials believe the individual contracted the virus in Denver.
According to a press release from Denver Public Health and Environment, hantavirus cannot be spread from person to person or from pets to person. The virus is found in urine, saliva and droppings of infected deer mice.
Humans can become infected by breathing in the virus when stirring up dust from mouse nests or mouse droppings in areas with poor ventilation, or when handling or being bitten by mice.
Hantavirus symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after contraction but can appear as long as eight weeks after exposure to infected rodents or their urine, saliva or droppings. Symptoms include fever, chills, headaches and severe pain in the legs and back.
If you believe you or a family member have been exposed to hantavirus, contact your physician immediately.
Denver health officials offered the following tips to protect yourself from infection:
To protect yourself from hantavirus: