A second person has died after coming into contact with hantavirus in Saskatchewan.

The province says the most recent death was an adult in the northern part of the province.

There have been four reported cases of the virus this year, two of which have lead to deaths.

mi-deer-mouse2-courtesy-cdc

Hantavirus is spread by exposure to the droppings and saliva of deer mice, and is more common in the fall as mice begin to move indoors for the winter. (Courtesy CDC)

The first death of the year occurred in June.

Hantavirus is transmitted by breathing in contaminated particles from the droppings, urine and saliva of deer mice.

Symptoms are flu-like in nature and can include fever, muscle aches, coughing, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Later, those exposed may experience shortness of breath and respiratory failure, says the health ministry.

It says hantavirus is a rare disease, but if contracted it is severe and can lead to death. People should seek medical attention if the symptoms arise within one to six weeks of exposure to rodent droppings.

Tips for cleaning

When cleaning rodent-infested areas the Ministry of Health has a number of tips:

  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated and air it out at least 30 minutes before cleaning
  • Use a wet mop and wear rubber or plastic gloves
  • Wear goggles and a filter mask when cleaning areas that are contaminated.
  • Dampen contaminated areas with bleach disinfectant and remove the droppings with a damp mop or cloth
  • Avoid dusting, sweeping and vacuuming areas
  • Steam clean, shampoo or spray furniture with soap, disinfectant or a bleach and water mixture
  • Wash clothes and bedding with soap and hot water

There have been 30 cases of hantavirus reported in Saskatchewan since 1994, 10 of which resulted in death.

The Ministry of Health will be addressing the media this afternoon.

More to come