Montana DPHHS reminds public to take precautions against hantavirus

HELENA – Montana health leaders are reminding the public to take precautions this spring to avoid exposure to hantavirus.

Hantavirus is spread through urine and droppings from infected rodents – most commonly deer mice – and can lead to a serious respiratory disease.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services says spring and summer have the highest risk of infection, as people clean out cabins, sheds and other areas rodents have been living.

According to DPHHS, hantavirus infections are relatively rare, but Montana has one of the highest rates of infection in the U.S. The state has seen 43 reported cases since 1993.

“We have not had a case reported since 2016, and we’re hoping for that trend to continue,” said Magdalena Scott, an epidemiologist with DPHHS.