Health officials warn hantavirus risks higher ahead of spring cleaning

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — State health officials warn that spring cleaning can involve some health dangers.

People who uncover signs of mice or other rodents need to take precautions to avoid catching a rodent-carried disease like hantavirus. Diseases spread by rodents are fairly rare in Washington state, but they can be serious or even deadly.

Hantavirus cases are most common during spring and summer, as people clean cabins, campers, garages, barns and other places where rodents like to live.

When cleaning in rodent-infested areas, first thoroughly wet the area with a bleach solution or disinfectant and soak for 10 minutes before any sweeping or vacuuming.

State health officials report there are usually fewer than five cases of hantavirus in Washington each year. The disease begins with flu-like symptoms.

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