UPDATE: 2/20/2017, 5:30PM
The Family Dollar store on College Avenue in Levelland remains closed until further notice according to a sign posted on the door. Late Monday afternoon, Randy Guiler, Vice President for Investor Relations for Family Dollar parent company, Dollar Tree, Inc. released the following statement.
“At Family Dollar, our top priority is ensuring that we maintain a
safe and comfortable environment in all stores for both our customers
and our employees. On February 8, Family Dollar voluntarily closed
its store in Levelland, TX as a precaution after suspicion of pest
infestation in the building’s ceiling. Family Dollar immediately
alerted city health inspectors who cleared the store to reopen on
February 11. Since that time, three store employees have reported
having flu-like symptoms, and while initial tests results indicate
that the employees’ health was not impacted by the infestation, the
State Health Department is currently confirming those results, as
well as conducting a more thorough review of the store to confirm it
is safe for employees and customers. The store will remain closed
until the investigation is complete. We are committed to working
closely with state and local authorities to ensure this issue is
KLVT News will continue to follow this story and will bring you updates as they become available.
KLVT News has learned that the Family Dollar store on College Avenue in Levelland has been closed due to the possibility of an issue of mice.
Mice can be carriers of the Hantavirus, and according to the Centers for Disease Control website, Deer Mice are the main carriers of the Hantavirus in this region.
Bruce White, Chief Operating Officer for Covenant Health in Levelland told KLVT News, “Covenant Health in Levelland and Covenant Clinics Levelland, cannot confirm or deny the status of a patient or patients treated here due to Patient Privacy laws.” He went on to say, “Hantavirus is very serious and will have symptoms similar to the flu.”
The Hantavirus is carried in the feces and urine of infected mice and is spread through air borne spores according to the Centers for Disease Control website.
A local medical provider said that it will present with the same symptoms as flu including muscle cramping and severe respiratory symptoms. A person can be exposed to symptoms simply by sweeping up mouse droppings without wearing a mask.
Because the area is in the middle of the flu season medical officials are concerned someone infected with Hantavirus may mistake it for the common flu. If you have any of the symptoms of Hantavirus, you are urged to contact your medical provider immediately.
A person exposed likely would have been exposed in the past 30 days.
Management of Family Dollar in Levelland nor the cooperate offices of their parent company, Dollar Tree Incorporated has been reached for comment on the reasons for closing the Levelland store or when it may reopen.
No information has been received from the Texas Department of Health’s offices in Lubbock as an investigation or information on the outbreak of a virus, such as Hantavirus would come through that office.