It’s autumn and the common rodents will take shelter, go warm, into houses or cottage and covered are so easy to access.
Yes, attentive reader, we talk about your apartment, your cottage, your condo…
As long as only qq rodents have crept into the basement and they do not multiply, the test will be manageable with some classic rat traps.
Let a few scratches disturb your tranquillity some evenings, you will be forgiving with nature inclined to life in general and the variety of species in particular.
The problem is that… Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome also says HPS is a serious respiratory disease that is transmitted by those of your rodents that have been infected.
Viruses are carried by the urine, feces or saliva of the mice and rats you shelter.
Anyone who comes into contact with rodents carrying hantavirus is at risk of contracting the disease. Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the main risk of exposure to hantaviruses. Even healthy people have a risk of infection if they are exposed to the virus.
HPS was first recognized in 1993 and has since been identified in Canada. Although rare, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is potentially fatal.
To avoid this disease, it is advisable to contact an exterminator. This expert in pest management carries out an integrated management of the infestation with products adapted for a sustainable solution.
How does HPS spread?
In Canada, hantavirus infection is usually spread by inhaling the virus that is found in the feces, urine and saliva of infected rodents. People can get sick when they touch or breathe in this type of dust from rodent feces or urine. Although cases are rare, the virus can also be transmitted to humans through a rodent bite.
In Montreal, the common mouse appears to be responsible for the spread of the disease in some neighbourhoods. About 12% of the common mice tested were found to be infected with the virus.
Other rodents, including the cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus), the canyon mouse, and the western mouse can also be infected with this virus, but in smaller numbers.
The virus does not make rodents sick and HPS is not transmissible between people. Even if not all rodents carry the virus, it is difficult to correctly identify infected mice, so all rodents should be avoided.
What are the symptoms of HPS?
People who are sick with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome may initially think they have the flu. The difference is that with this virus, respiratory problems worsen, the lungs fill with fluid, which can cause breathing to stop and die. The mortality rate is about 50%.
The first symptoms are:
- muscle pain (especially in the thighs, hips, back and sometimes shoulders)
About half of HPS patients also have the following symptoms:
- abdominal pain
Late symptoms begin four to ten days after the initial phase of the disease and cause coughing and shortness of breath.
Less common symptoms include:
- a sore throat
- the runny nose
- a rash, eczema
The incubation period is not well known due to the small number of HPS cases. Based on studies, it appears that symptoms can appear between one and five weeks after exposure.
Hantavirus, definition and mode of transmission
Hantavirus is a severe lung syndrome caused by a virus. It is secreted in the urine, feces and saliva of infected animals. Most often these are rodents. When humans come into direct or indirect contact with these secretions, the virus is transmitted to them. Ditto when they are bitten by infected rodents.
However, the virus is not transmitted from human to human, only from animal to human. This type of disease is called zoonoses because they can only be transmitted to humans through an animal. It has been found that domestic animals (apart from the domestic rat) and livestock cannot contract hantavirus so there is every reason to believe that only rodents can carry it.
Symptoms of hantavirus
Being a lung disease, one of the characteristic symptoms of hantavirus is difficulty breathing. At the beginning of the disease, the infected person begins to feel fever, chills, headache and muscle pain.
It is about two weeks after the appearance of the first symptoms that they are usually accompanied by a feeling of shortness of breath. Nevertheless, this last manifestation of the disease can be observed after two days as after six weeks; it depends on the organism of the individual.
Hantavirus can also lead to kidney disease or infection. And although they are rare and very few people are prone to them, there is currently no treatment to combat these ailments. It is therefore better to be careful not to contract them.
What is the treatment for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
There is no specific treatment, cure or vaccine to treat HPS. People with severe breathing problems are often placed on oxygen and breathing apparatus. If a person has been in a relationship with rodents and has symptoms of fever, deep muscle pain and severe shortness of breath, he should immediately consult a doctor.
What can be done to prevent infection with the virus?
Controlling rodents in and around the home remains the main strategy to prevent hantavirus infection. The intervention of an exterminator expert in rat control is an essential step. Integrated pest management with adapted products makes it possible to quickly and durably eradicate an invasion of rodents.
Some general precautions to take to limit a rodent infestation:
- reduce the availability of food sources and nesting sites inside your home
- store food (including pet food) and water in containers that are resistant to rodent teeth and have an airtight lid
- store garbage in metal containers with airtight lids
- wash dishes and kitchen utensils immediately after use
- clean the floor regularly and empty the garbage every day
What to do to prevent rodents from entering the house:
- use steel wool or cement to seal, hide and close all openings in the house that have a diameter of 1/4 inch or more
- place gravel around the base of homes or under mobile homes to discourage rodents from digging their burrows
- Reduce rodent shelters and food sources within 100 feet of the house
- store grain and feed in rodent-resistant containers
- remove food sources around the house that could attract rodents
- cut grass, brush and dense shrubs within 100 feet of the house
Beware of rat poison and rodenticide products that are dangerous for the environment, humans and pets. Prefer to use a professional depreciateer.
Cleaning procedure following a rodent invasion
- any place where you see rodents or rodent droppings (crottes and urine) should be thoroughly cleaned.
- Use wet cleaning methods with disinfectant to carefully remove rodent feces. Moistened cloths prevent the creation of toxic dust when inhaled. The broom is to be avoided because it makes particles fly in the air.
- wear rubber gloves, long-sleeved clothing and a dust mask.
- discard the feces by burying them in double plastic bags.
- don’t touch dead rodents without gloves. Get rid of rodent corpses by picking them up with a tool and placing them in a double plastic bag.
- Always wash your hands with soap, warm water and an antiseptic after each cleaning.
- Call your exterminator if you are concerned about the extent or safety of the infestation
Tips for hikers and campers
- do not set up tents and sleeping bags near rodent feces or nests
- Also, don’t camp near places where rodents can find shelter, such as dumps or piles of wood.
- If possible, do not sleep on the bare floor. Use a camp bed with the sleeping surface at least 12 inches from the ground.
- store food in rodent-proof containers.
- Quickly bury all garbage and garbage or dispose of it in covered garbage cans.
- use only bottled water or water that has been brought to a boil for cooking or brushing your teeth.
Homes and buildings infected with HPS should be cleaned with care. It is advisable to contact an exterminator but also your local health service for precise instructions.