A Grant County man is dead from Hantavirus, caused by rodents.

This is the first case reported in the state this year. He is the 19th known death in Washington from the virus since 1985. The Grant County Health District confirmed the man had a known exposure to rodents before his death. According to the Washington State Department of Health, most Hantavirus cases are in Eastern Washington, particularly in rural areas.

Grant County Health District-Facebook
Grant County Health District-Facebook

The 25-year old man was likely exposed to rodents in a vehicle.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our community members due to Hantavirus. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the loved ones of this individual,” states Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a rare, sometimes deadly illness caused by a virus in infected rodents.

People become sick with Hantavirus by breathing in contaminated dust from fresh urine, droppings, or nests of infected rodents. The greatest risk occurs in enclosed areas, such as sheds, cabins, or vehicles, with rodent infestation and poor air circulation. People can also be infected when they touch objects contaminated with the virus and then touch their nose or mouth. It cannot spread from one person to another.

What are symptoms of Hantavirus?

The illness usually begins one to six weeks after being exposed. Early signs are flu-like symptoms including fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal issues, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

4 to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear.

The symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and tightening of the chest due to fluid filling the lungs. Hospitalization is usually necessary, and a little over one-third of cases result in death.

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