Hantavirus Disease Risk and Safety

April 19, 2016

What is Hantavirus Disease?

Hantavirus is a rare but serious illness spread by deer mice. It begins as a flu-like illness. The initial symptoms include fever, muscle aches, cough, headaches, nausea and vomiting. As the disease worsens, severe lung infection can occur which can be fatal.
The initial symptoms of the disease may appear from one to six weeks after the exposure, with an average of two to three weeks. Once symptoms appear, the disease can progress rapidly and become life-threatening within a short time.

What is the risk of Hantavirus Disease in Saskatchewan?

Since 1994, there have been between 0 and 4 cases reported each year in Saskatchewan with about a third of the cases resulting in death.
Deer mice are the primary carriers of the disease. Deer mice are found throughout most of Saskatchewan.

Who is at risk? 

 Anyone in close contact with deer mouse feces, dried urine or nests in poorly ventilated areas.
 Anyone cleaning (sweeping or vacuuming) poorly ventilated areas (eg. cabins, sheds) with deer mouse feces, dried urine or nests
 Anyone handling firewood, if wood piles are contaminated with deer mouse feces, urine or nests.

For more information on Hantavirus Disease and how to protect yourself please download this information sheet.