(CBS4) – Summer cleaning projects may put you at risk for a relatively rare but potentially deadly disease. The Post Independent in Glenwood Springs reports public health officials want people to be aware of the dangers deer mice carry.

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Hantavirus is transferred to humans through dust contaminated with mouse droppings. Symptoms start out feeling like the flu.

“Becoming exposed is easier than it might seem. You could go into a storage space and pull down a box that has rodent urine or droppings on it. When you sweep off the droppings the air fills with dust that gets into your lungs, creating an opportunity for exposure,” Garfield County Public Health nurse Danielle Dudley told The Post Independent.

Deer mice like to nest in areas where people store things over long periods of time, and experts urge caution when taking steps to clean up such areas. Officials recommend wearing dust masks, properly spraying an area down and ventilating a space before cleaning.

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