UMaine Veterinarian Offers Precautions against Rodents, Hantavirus

University of Maine veterinarian Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the UMaine Animal Health Laboratory, is available to discuss precautions people can take to reduce or avoid exposure to rodents that could be carrying the potentially fatal respiratory disease, Hantavirus, which was discovered in Maine for the first time recently.

“Now that a human case of Hantavirus respiratory syndrome has been diagnosed in Maine, it’s a good idea to review how to minimize any risk to humans due to this disease,” says Lichtenwalner. “It simply boils down to keeping rodents out of your house, barn or camp.”

Lichtenwalner can discuss methods to reduce or eliminate the presence of rats and mice that could be carrying the virus.

“If you are going into a camp, shed or other building that may have rodents living in or around it, wear a mask,” she says. “Open the door and let it air out for 30 minutes before you go in. Then, spray things down with a dilute bleach solution, then mop or sponge all surfaces to remove the solution. ”

Avoid breathing the dust and don’t sweep or vacuum, which is what can carry Hantavirus into your respiratory system.

Lichtenwalner can be reached at (207) 581-2789 for additional information.

She also recommends the Maine Center for Disease Control website for details about cleaning areas where mice may have been.

Contact: Anne Lichtenwalner, (207) 581-2789; George Manlove, (207) 581-3756