Field mice have been known to carry a nasty disease called Hantavirus. The infection rate is pretty low, but Montana has one of the higher incident reports in the nation, and springtime can lead to more exposure as people clean out cabins and sheds from the winter months. If the mice have set up housekeeping in that building, the hantavirus can be in droppings or urine. When the material is stirred up, the virus can spread in the dust into your lungs. Fatigue, fever and muscle aches lead to coughing and severe respiratory distress.

How do you avoid possible sickness? Here are three tips from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Seal Up - Prevent mice from getting inside in the first place. Seal the holes and gaps in the walls.
  • Trap Up - Use "snap" traps on the indoor mice. Outside, keep shrubbery near the buildings well trimmed. Move the woodpiles at 100 feet from the building and put the wood on a 1-foot high deck.
  • Clean Up - Don't sweep! That could spread the hantavirus throughout the area. Instead, open the windows and doors for at least a half hour, then wear rubber or plastic gloves and spray the area with a bleach and water mix and let soak. Wipe up the droppings with a sponge or paper towel, and clean surfaces with disinfectant or bleach. Dispose of cleaning materials and wash your hands thoroughly. If you need more information check the DPHHS website.
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