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Hantavirus: Advice for Hikers and Campers

Topic Overview

If you are hiking or camping, especially in areas where hantavirus has been reported, the following recommendations may help you avoid contact with infected rodents:

  • Avoid disturbing rodent burrows or rodent dens.
  • Do not handle or pet any rodents that you see, even if they appear tame.
  • Do not use cabins or other enclosed shelters that are rodent-infested until they have been aired out, cleaned, and disinfected.
  • Do not pitch tents or place sleeping bags in areas near rodent droppings, rodent burrows, or possible rodent shelters, such as woodpiles.
  • If possible, do not sleep on the bare ground. Use a cot with the sleeping surface at least 12 in. (30.5 cm) above the ground or use tents with floors.
  • Keep food in rodent-proof containers.
  • Promptly throw away all garbage and trash in covered trash cans. If trash cans are not available, store garbage in a rodent-proof container until you get to a place where you can throw it away safely.
  • Use only bottled water or water that has been disinfected by filtering, boiling, chlorination, or iodination for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, and brushing your teeth.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
Last Revised February 22, 2012

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