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Kennewick:
8am to noon
1pm to 5pm
Monday-Friday

Vital Records
Same-day
In-Person
Service (Kennewick office only)
8am to 11:30am
1pm to 4pm
Monday-Friday

Pasco:
8am to noon
1pm to 5pm
Monday-Friday

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome


In August 2007, the Benton-Franklin Health District received three reports of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a serious respiratory disease spread by mice. As of August 15th, 2007, a total of five cases of the rare disease have been reported in our district. Hantavirus is carried by deer mice and can cause the serious, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease when spread to people. The virus can infect people when they inhale dirt and dust contaminated with mouse urine or droppings, such as when people stir up dust while working in, or cleaning out, storage units and sheds. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is not contagious person-to-person.

Symptoms

Symptoms of hantavirus infection begin with fever, severe body aches, headache, vomiting, and tiredness. Symptoms generally begin from one week to five weeks after exposure to mice droppings and may progress to severe respiratory distress, including shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Anyone ill with these symptoms should tell their health care provider if they’ve had exposure to deer mice or rodent-infested environments. Although there is no cure for the disease, early supportive treatment can help recovery.

Because there is not a cure for the disease, prevention is key to avoiding hantavirus infection.

Cleaning Recommendations

Before a shed, cabin, or other area with potential mouse droppings is cleaned, the structure should be ventilated thoroughly by opening the windows and doors for at least an hour before cleaning begins.

  1. Wear latex or rubber gloves.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water or use a store-bought solution that says "disinfectant" on the label.
  3. Do not vacuum, sweep or dust any areas that have signs of mice. This may spread the virus through the air. Use rags, sponges and mops that have been soaked in the disinfectant solution.
  4. Thoroughly spray or soak any dead mice, droppings or nesting areas with disinfectant.
  5. Wipe down counter tops, cabinets and drawers. Mop floors and baseboards.
  6. Steam clean carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture.
  7. Wash clothes and bedding in hot water and detergent. Dry the clothes in a dryer set on high, or hang outside to dry.
  8. To dispose of contaminated items, including dead mice, put them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and put it in another plastic bag. Seal the outer bag and put in your outdoor garbage can.
  9. Disinfect or throw away the gloves you used.
  10. When you are done, wash your hands and/or shower with soap and hot water.

Additional precautions to provide protection against hantavirus include:

  • Mouse-proof buildings by plugging holes or other mouse entryways that are larger than ¼”.
  • Make home and work areas unattractive to mice by keeping indoor areas clean, especially kitchens. Store food in rodent-proof containers. This includes pet, livestock and bird food.
  • Properly throw away garbage in sealed containers.
  • Store firewood at least 100 feet from the house. Keep plants around the house short and well trimmed.

Deer Mouse Description

The deer mouse is about six inches long from the nose to the tip of its tail. It is grayish to light brown on top, with a white belly, large ears, and a furry tail that is white on the underside. They have large ears relative to their head size. Unlike deer mice, house mice are all gray and have small ears and are not associated with this illness.

More Information

Washington State Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BFHD Hantavirus Poster

Printable Resources at the CDC

"Facts About Hantavirus" Brochure
Download an Adobe Acrobat Reader format (PDF) version of the "Facts About Hantavirus" brochure. This brochure provides detailed information for prevention of hantavirus in and around your home.

"Información sobre los Hantavirus: Lo que Usted Debe Saber para Prevenir la Enfermedad del Síndrome Pulmonar por Hantavirus" Brochure
Download an Adobe Acrobat Reader format (PDF) version of the "Información sobre los Hantavirus: Lo que Usted Debe Saber para Prevenir la Enfermedad del Síndrome Pulmonar por Hantavirus" brochure. This Spanish brochure provides detailed information for prevention of hantavirus in and around your home.

Campers and Hikers Brochure
Download an Adobe Acrobat Reader format (PDF) version of the "Prevent Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome" Campers and Hikers brochure. This brochure provides recommended prevention information for outdoor activities.

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Benton Franklin Health District
Kennewick
7102 W Okanogan Pl
Kennewick WA
99336
(509) 460 4200
Pasco
412 W Clark
Pasco WA
99301
(509) 547-9737

Emergency Contact Information

Personal Emergency for Medical, Police, Fire, or Other: 911
Washington Poison Center: 1 (800) 222-1222 (www.wapc.org)
Washington Community Resource Information: 211 (www.win211.org)
BFHD Public Health Emergency/Imminent Health Hazard After-Hours Reporting: 509-543-3851
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The public can reference BFHD policies available in Kennewick office.
BFHD Privacy Statement:English / Spanish
Copies of the annual report available at all BFHD offices.
State and County Resources
Rules and Regulations Administered by or Governing the Benton-Franklin Health District
WAC's - RCW's
Community Health Status Indicators
Reportable Conditions
Contact: info(at)bfhd.wa.gov                                                                                                                             Employees