In this undated handout from the Centers for Disease Control image library, this transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveals the ultrastructural appearance of a number of virus particles, or virions, of a hantavirus known as the Sin Nombre virus (SNV). (REUTERS/Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC/Handout)
WINNIPEG - A Manitoban has died from complications of hantavirus infection for the first time in 12 years.
The province says the middle-aged Winnipeg man was otherwise healthy when he passed away last week.
The virus is found in the urine, feces and saliva of infected deer mice, and Manitoba Health is warning people about the rare but highly fatal airborne hantavirus.
"The important thing here is that people be very careful when they notice mouse droppings," said Dr. Richard Rusk, a medical officer of health. "They need to be very careful how they clean that."
Four lab-confirmed cases of the infection, also known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), have been recorded in the province since 1999. The last time a death from HPS was recorded in the province was 2000.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cough, which can develop within one to six weeks after exposure.
The chance of recovery improves if medical attention is sought early, even though there is no specific treatment for HPS, Manitoba Health says.
Manitoba Health urges residents to take the following precautions:
avoid disturbing rodent nests and droppings
seal homes and cabins so mice can't enter
air out enclosed areas as much as possible before entering
wear gloves and masks before cleaning up droppings
dampen areas contaminated with mouse droppings with bleach disinfectant and remove droppings with a damp mop or cloth to reduce airborne particles' entry into the air (avoid vacuuming or sweeping)