State health officials confirm Montana’s first hantavirus infection of the year recently sickened a Richland County resident.
The adult male fell ill working out of state where he faced an occupational exposure to mice. He was hospitalized but now recovering at home.
Infected rodents carry hantavirus and release it in their droppings, urine or saliva, which can then be transmitted to people breathing in that contaminated air.
State epidemiologist Erika Baldry says the best way to prevent hantavirus infection is to control rodent populations.
"Seal up holes inside and outside the home to keep rodents out. You want to trap rodents around the home to help reduce the population and you want to clean up any food that's easy to get to.'
The state’s hantavirus web page includes a guide on how to properly clean rodent-infested areas.
Early symptoms include fatigue, fever, and chills. Advanced symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
This is Montana’s 45th hantavirus case since it was first identified in the state in 1993. The most recently reported case was in 2018.