There have been nine cases of hanta virus in Panama so far this year. “Most of them” have been in the Azuero. So now Carnaval in Las Tablas might not happen this year! But far better that, than the alternative.
How do you catch hanta virus? By touching, eating or drinking something a rodent has peed on. Or by stirring up a nesting site and breathing droplets stirred into the air.
Best practices for the foreseeable future:
1. Wash everything you bring home from the grocery store. Rodents run around the warehouses and, never having had the opportunity to learn good bathroom practices, make pipi on what’s there. People in the US have caught it this way. What to wash? That would include cans, jars, bottles, plastic squeezies of mayo and mustard and tomato paste – all of it. I would also wash (then dry) cellophane bags because the mice have not removed them from the list of things to pee on.
2. Wash your hands after handling such things. What a shame if you washed your beer cans, but not your hands and then absent-mindedly picked your nose. Not that you ever would, of course. But stranger things have happened.
3. Think twice about where you are when you plan to eat out. Take some sanitizer with you and wash your hands and the lid of your beer can or soft drink before you open it.
4. Stay out of un-used buildings, barns, and the like.
The good news is that you can’t catch it by kissing someone.