It's a great time for farmers to get out and clean their barns, but there are risks that come along with spring cleaning.

Barns and sheds are a common place for mouse droppings to accumulate and exposure to these droppings can be harmful.  

A hantavirus infection comes from being exposed to mouse droppings in an enclosed area.

When people breathe in the airborne particles from the droppings or urine, they are at risk of catching the virus.

There are precautions farmers must take in order to stay healthy.   

Judy MacDonald, Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health Services says the most important thing is to do is to keep rodents out of homes or work areas.

"When you are doing clean up you need to be watching for signs or mouse droppings, nests or dead mice. Rather than tackling that with a broom, you need to open up windows and doors for some ventilation and then wearing rubber gloves, you need to thoroughly soak the droppings, nest or dead mouse with a bleach and water solution," she advises.

The next step is to place the droppings or nesting material into a sealed bag and dispose of it.   
MacDonald says it's important to remember not to sweep or vacuum up the droppings.

The risk of getting the virus is low but you still need to be cautious.

The only confirmed carrier of the hantavirus in Alberta is the deer mouse.