Craig briefs: VNA warns of rabies, hantavirus this spring

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Hantavirus is a serious respiratory disease carried by deer mice (brown on top and white underneath, with large ears), according to a press release from the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. Be careful when doing spring cleaning and before opening up cabins, buildings, sheds and barns. You can become infected when you inhale dirt and dust contaminated with deer mice droppings. Air out rodent-infested buildings or areas at least 30 minutes before cleaning. Use a solution of household bleach (one cup bleach per gallon of water) to spray materials you have used for cleaning mouse droppings. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/hantavirus.

Bats, fox, porcupines and other small rodents can have rabies. Never touch these animals. Did you know:

■ Rabies is a deadly disease transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually from bites.

■ Not all bats have rabies, but most human cases in the United States are caused by bats.

■ Bat bites leave a small wound but require urgent medical attention. If bitten, wash the wound with soap and water and call your doctor.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/rabies.

Forest Service seeks committee members

LARAMIE, Wyo.  — The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are seeking members to serve on a citizens’ Resource Advisory Committee, according to a news release. The RAC reviews and recommends projects, which benefit natural resources on the National Forests in five counties.

The committee was established in 2009 to serve Jackson and Routt counties in Colorado, as well as Albany and Carbon counties in Wyoming. In 2011, the RAC volunteered to assist Rio Blanco County (White River National Forest) to solicit and select projects so that a separate RAC did not need to be formed.

The Medicine Bow-Routt RAC has slots for 15 members representative of a variety of interests and expertise. There are currently several open positions for both voting members and alternate members. Nominees will be recommended by the U.S. Forest Service and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Applicants must live in Colorado or Wyoming. Members will serve a four-year term without compensation except possible travel expenses. For an application, please email atvoos@fs.fed.us, or call RAC Coordinator Aaron Voos at 307-745-2323. Applications will be accepted immediately.

CDOT asks Coloradans to drive distraction-free

In recognition and support of the National Safety Council’s designation of April as “Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” the Colorado Department of Transportation is launching a new campaign focused on the notion that a sending a text message while driving is like wearing a five-second blindfold, according to a CDOT press release.

CDOT and the NSC remind everyone this April to combat distracted driving by doing the following:

■ Put your cellphone out of reach while driving to reduce the temptation to pick it up.

■ Recognize that hands-free devices offer little safety benefit, as they distract from your brain’s ability to multitask.

■ Understand the dangers of cognitive distraction to the brain.

■ Be vocal with family, friends and co-workers about the dangers of distracted driving.

There are many statistics surrounding this issue, including the fact that with each text sent or received, a driver’s eyes are diverted from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds — enough time to drive the length of a football field at 55 mph — blindfolded.

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