With everyone doing their chores on the farm, the Saskatchewan government wants to remind everyone to take precautions against Hantavirus Exposure 

It is contracted through breathing in contaminated airborne particles from waste products produced by infected deer mice, be it droppings, urine or saliva. 

"Exposure to hantavirus most often occurs when cleaning enclosed buildings, or equipment and vehicles after winter," 

Dr Julie Krazanowski, Saskatchewan's deputy chief medical officer explained in a release, 

"Particles can become airborne after sweeping, but it's also possible to get the virus by touching something that has been contaminated, and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes." 

Precautions noted within the same release state: 

When cleaning outbuildings such as sheds and unoccupied dwellings such as cabins where evidence of a rodent infestation is found - 

  • ventilate the building by opening doors and windows, and then leave the area for at least 30 minutes before cleaning; 

  • avoid using dry cleaning methods such as dusting, sweeping, vacuuming or air-hosing; 

  • use wet mopping methods and wear rubber or plastic gloves; 

  • wear goggles and a well-fitting N-95 type filter mask when cleaning areas contaminated by droppings; 

  • dampen areas contaminated with rodent droppings with bleach disinfectant and remove droppings with a damp mop or cloth; 

  • steam clean, shampoo or spray upholstered furniture with a detergent, disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water; and 

  • wash exposed clothes and bedding with detergent in hot water. 

Throughout the year minimize rodent infestation by limiting the availability of food sources or nesting materials, as well as preventing rodents from entering the building. 

Hantavirus infections are rare but serious. Between 1994 and 2023, 38 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome were reported in Saskatchewan. 13 of those cases were fatal. 

Symptoms usually start within one to two weeks and include fever, muscle aches, cough, headache, nausea and vomiting. 

Seek medical attention immediately if you have a cough, fever and shortness of breath. 

More information can be found here and HealthLine Online here