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Province sees first death from hantavirus in 12 years

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Manitoba has recorded its first fatality due to hantavirus since 2000.

A middle-aged Winnipeg man died last week of the serious lung ailment, which is spread through infected deer mouse droppings.

Folks can contract Hantarvirus Pulmonary Syndrome when they sweep or vacuum mouse droppings from infected mice at home or at the cottage. Vacuuming and sweeping are not advised as methods of cleaning up droppings because the infection is spread by breathing it in. Instead people are encouraged to use a damp mop and disinfectant to clean up droppings.

Dr. Richard Rusk, a provincial medical officer of health, said the Health Department is unsure whether the man contracted the infection in Winnipeg or at a cottage on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. He did not want to identify the cottage community.

Since 1999, when Manitoba first started recording hantavirus, there have been four cases and three deaths in the province. The deaths occurred in 1999, 2000 and this fall.

Across Canada, there have been 70 cases of hantavirus.

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