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Hantavirus: Advice for Hikers and Campers

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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.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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