Spring Cleaning: An Opportunity to Inhale Rodent Urine

When I travel, I really enjoy reading local newspapers in order to get an idea of the issues that affect an area. Usually, these issues have little to do with infectious diseases but yesterday I came across an article regarding hantavirus in Utah. 

Hantavirus is a potentially lethal disease that came to public awareness after a large outbreak in 1993 in the Four Corners region. It also caused an outbreak at Yosemite in recent years.

Hantavirus is contracted via the inhalation of rodent urine and droppings (it happens more commonly than you might imagine) and it is no surprising that the change in season coincides with cases.  Spring cleaning of sheds and other areas stirs up these substances allowing them to be inhaled. 

The lesson: be careful when spring cleaning.