At Pennsylvania state parks, cleaning crews routinely scour cabins, cottages and yurts to guard against hantavirus, a rodent-carried disease that killed three campers and infected five others who rented cabins this summer at Yosemite National Park in California.

According to reports from The Morning Call, hantavirus spreads through the feces, urine and saliva of mice and rodents. Regular cleaning prevents the disease, as does plugging holes to keep mice outside tents and cabins. Because the virus can spread through the air, janitors try not to kick up dust that the droppings might have fouled.

Disinfecting sprays are used when cleaning the yurts. Workers spray and wipe down the counters, kitchen table, furniture arms, coffee table, beds, mattresses, top of room partitions, appliances, and inside the drawers and cupboards. Officials stress that when workers clean those rooms, they should wear a mask and use a mop with a bleach solution.

Hantavirus is rare. Since its discovery in 1993, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 587 cases nationwide through the end of last year. No treatment exists, however, and 36 percent of those cases caused death.

From one to five weeks after exposure to droppings, patients become tired, run fevers and start to ache, especially in their large muscle groups such as hips, legs, back and, sometimes, shoulders, the CDC says. About half become nauseous, vomit, and have diarrhea, chills and headaches. Victims develop Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and in latter stages, labor to breathe as their lungs fill with fluid.

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