Talon News - Good Local News

By Susan Franzheim
Special to TALON 

HANTAVIRUS - MYTH vs FACT

 


Myths and Facts about Hantavirus.

DANGEROUS 365 days/year:

Possible exposure in poorly ventilated vehicles and structures.FACTS:  Possible danger: inhaling virus from touching anything with urine/feces from harvest/deer/pinion/mice contaminated dust can be created by dusting/sweeping UN-ventilated areas...

Possible danger: from touching face/eyes/nose/mouth with contaminated HANDS or inhaling airborne particles from fresh or  dried infected mice saliva/urine/feces ...Virus transmission is unknown by insects NOT all medical professionals are aware of:·         Sore throat/runny nose/sneezing/watery eyes/coughing occurring at the beginning are NOT the virus -·

GO IMMEDIATELY to a doctor with beginning flu-like muscle-aches OR lower back-pain OR fever OR nausea & vomiting - get blood-test ASKING to check PLATELET count (considered for that day only to be OK if the count is 100)·    Blood-smear readings by professionals aware of Hantavirus blood-dynamics are critical to be done within minutes - NOT the usual fastest minimum of 12 hrs…needed for urgent evaluation to initiate critical treatment.·         During an average window of 3-5 days the flu-like symptoms must be monitored DAILY through the platelet count - as danger passes ONLY when the count INCREASES (if it was low).·         The virus reproduces in (linings of the blood vessels) producing profoundly clogged and leaky ‘pipes’.·        

The viruses' progress is COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE - reportedly with possible incubation period from 3 days-to-6 weeks after exposure.MYTH: Athletes are safe - the elderly are not.

FACT: An elderly chronically ill patient with immediate intervention may survive while a young marathon runner with immediate intervention may die. MYTH: The virus is passed person-to-person (it is NOT).

PREVENTION-trap (an example): to drown mice attracted to a rotating pop-can·         5 gallon bucket·         2 ft. piece of flat wood trim (lath)·         12" clothes hanger wire·         Aluminum soda-pop can·         1" long headless (finishing) nail·         Two/ 3" hose pieces for centering pop-canConstruction:1.  Make hole @ one-end in wood (lath) - use as ramp2.  Put nail in bucket’s top rim - leave sticking up ½"3.  Put nail through wood-hole/lean one-end on ground4.  Make another hole on both bucket sides5.  Locate 1" down bucket rim: also 2" toward ramp center's top & bottom holes on can6   On wire: thread one hose pc./thread can/then 2nd hose pc.7.  Put wire ends in bucket’s holes8.  Add 3" of water to bucket9.  Put peanut butter or glue whole peanut halves around can10.Add salt in water (wintertime) to prevent freezingTrap-

MAINTENANCE (critical for RELIABLE effectiveness):* Check all-trap-types DAILY while catching mice* When no mice are caught maintain traps WEEKLY * Using BLEACH: prepare as needed…MUST discard after 24 hrs.·         Use 1/2 cup bleach to 5 cups water (1:10)·         Or 1 1/2 cups/bleach to 1 gallon/water·  Or Lysol or alcohol or ODO-BAN in bleach-sensitive areas

OTHER-PREVENTION Tips:* Metal flashing as mice barrier (at base of structures) buried 6" in ground - extending 12" above ground* 3" pea gravel - under/around structures discouraging burrowing* Raised cement foundations for: sheds/barns/residences/out-buildings* Elevate woodpiles 12" or more* Sore hay on pallets using traps or rodent-killer

CONTINUOUSLY* Keep children/other animals from poison* Plug openings the size of pencil-diameters with materials to withstand relentless rodent gnawing abilities      like: extra-strong wire mesh (copper) - steel wool* AFTER securing openings use: caulk/plaster/metal/brick* Use flap-valve covers for clothes dryer vents * Use MANY traps (NOT live-traps) to maximize probability of success

EXTRA-SAFETY Precautions:Prevent opportunities through pets to become infected with PLAGUE* Treat cats/dogs with flea-preventives* Check BED box-springs for rodent nesting places *

DO NOT rely on RESPIRATORS: ANYTHING (facial hair or poor fit, etc.)   interfering with respirator SEALS allows air to BY-PASS the filter * DON’T disinfect respirator filters for RE-USE - disinfect and DISPOSE

HANTAVIRUS Information:

·         New Mexico Health Department: 505.827.2613-www.health.state.nm.us/hantavirus.html

http://www.health.state.nm.us/alerts.html

http://www.health.state.nm.us/…2000/infectiousdiseases.htm

http://www.health.state.nm.us/…2000/environmentalhealth.htm

http://www.health.state.nm.us/…fNM2000/chartsandgraphs.htm

·         New Mexico Environmental Health & Engineering: 505.325.4446

·         Health Department of San Juan County: 505.327.4461

·         Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 800.227.8922-888.246.2675

 "All About Hantavirus" http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/index.htm

+This columnist recommends all medical information be verified with professionals.

 

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