The Department of Health confirmed today that the number of people diagnosed with hantavirus this year has reached five, the highest number reported in the state since 1999.
Three deaths have been reported in 2017. The people who died are from Franklin, King, and Spokane counties. The two additional people who contracted the disease and survived are from King and Skagit counties.
Deer mice are known to carry hantavirus. People can become infected by breathing in air contaminated with the virus, through direct contact with hantavirus-infected deer mice, and from saliva, urine, droppings, or nesting material.
It is important to eliminate or minimize contact with rodents and to take precautions when cleaning rodent-infested areas. Hantavirus cannot be spread from person-to-person. People can follow these simple steps to protect themselves.
If you think you’ve been exposed to deer mice watch for symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and shortness of breath for up to eight weeks after exposure. If symptoms develop, see your health care provider and mention your exposure to deer mice.
Video: Dr. Scott Lindquist, deputy health officer for DOH, provides tips on protecting you and your family from hantavirus.