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Posted on: April 26, 2018

Spring Cleaning? County Reminds Residents to ‘Stay Safe’, Avoid Illnesses


Spring Cleaning?  County Reminds Residents to ‘Stay Safe’, Avoid Illnesses

April 25, 2018–Clear Creek County Communications, Colo. Spring is finally here…the last of our mountain snow is falling, students are almost out of school for the year…and, many of us are doing our annual spring cleaning to get ready for summer fun and activities with family and friends.  But, there are little-known dangers lurking around this normal occurrence---airborne viruses and tick-borne diseases. 

Last month, a Denver resident was diagnosed with a rare, but potentially fatal virus called Hantavirus—spread by rodents (deer mouse).  A rare occurrence, this was only the second person diagnosed with the virus since the city and County of Denver began tracking it in 1993.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Hantavirus is usually found in rural areas (forests, fields, farms) that “…offer suitable habitat for the virus’s rodent hosts..”  This includes places like houses, barns, sheds, and others.  Rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva---and, it is transmitted to humans when they breathe in air contaminated with the virus.  

“Although I haven’t seen a case in Clear Creek during my time here, most people don’t know about Hantavirus or other diseases they could be exposed to from normal things such as spring house cleaning, camping and hiking, or while at work,” said Crystal Brandt, County Public Health Nurse. 

Got Bleach?

Another little-known, rare disease occurring in mountain areas (4,000-10,000 feet above sea level) is Colorado tick fever (CTF).  CTF is spread to humans through bites of infected ticks, usually during spring and summer months when ticks are most active.  According to the CDC, some symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, headaches, and feeling tired.  While there is no specific medication treatment for CTF, experts advise the best way to prevent it is to reduce your risk of tick bites---and, consult your healthcare provider if you have concerns about CTF.  Prevention involves using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass, and thoroughly checking for ticks after spending time outdoors. 

“We want everyone to enjoy this time of the year when the weather gets warm, and so many of us are enjoying this great mountain community we live in,” said Brandt.  “But, just be aware of things you may not even think of.” 

                                                         Cleaning Up After Rodents (per the CDC)

  • Wear rubber, latex or vinly gloves when cleaning urine and droppings.
  • Spray the urine and droppings with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water—let soak 5 minutes. 
  • Place dead rodents or nesting materials in a plastic bag and seal tightly—place full bag in 2nd plastic bag and seal. 
  • Wash hands well with soap and warm water. 
  • For heavy rodent infestation, wear protective goggles, rubber boots and coveralls (disposable), if possible. 

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For more information, contact John Bryan, Communications Director, at 303-679-2307, or email:    


Clear Creek County Official Website:

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