UM Cleans Recycling Shop After Student Contracts Hantavirus - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

UM Cleans Recycling Shop After Student Contracts Hantavirus

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The University of Montana is now working to clean part of campus after finding out a student likely contracted the deadly hantavirus while pressure washing at the university's recycling shop.

Hantavirus is a rare and sometimes fatal virus carried by deer mice.

The recycling shop on Campus Drive is closed as crews hose it down with a bleach concentrate.

"What's happening today and the next few days is a cleaning process involving everything from moving furniture out of shop, moving smaller items and cleaning it with the bleach mixture recommended by the health department before reopening,” said UM spokeswoman Peggy Kuhr.

She says the center closed on Friday after the university found out that's where a student employee likely contracted hantavirus.

"Ongoing education and training will occur not only with the employees at the recycling shop, but also with custodial employees across campus."

As for the student, 20-year-old Antonio Morsette, he's back at school and thankful to be alive.

"It's overwhelming. I have a lot of papers due and lot of assignments to turn in and tests to make up. It's overwhelming," Morsette said.

He first started feeling sick earlier this month.

“I first went into hospital, because I had a headache and eye ache.”

When his condition only got worse he was admitted to St. Patrick Hospital a few weeks ago and eventually put into a medically-induced coma for four days.

“I almost died.”

He was brought out of the coma almost two weeks ago and found out he had hantavirus just last Thursday.

"I'm really grateful I'm alive. I'm grateful I had so many people praying for me."

The university is now focusing on making sure students at the shop and all other custodial staff wear gloves from now on.

“It's the season critters are out and we want to make sure A) that people know what to look out for, B) how to deal with it, and C) how to properly disinfect it.”

Missoula City-County Health officials say if a mouse has clearly been in your home, the best thing you do is to thoroughly wet the area with bleach or a disinfectant.

University of Montana officials say students will continue collecting recyclables on campus, but the shop will remain closed until the building is thoroughly cleaned. The adjacent buildings will also be cleaned over spring break.

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