Grant County confirms state’s first case of hantavirus this year
GRANT COUNTY, Wash. — One person in Grant County is recovering at home from a case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). The case was confirmed through lab testing on May 10, the Grant County Health District said Monday.
The health district says the illness started in late-April with flu-like symptoms and progressed to respiratory failure, which required a hospital stay.
HPS is a rare illness, often fatal illness caused by a virus found in the urine, droppings and saliva of infected rodents. A person can get infected by breathing in dust that contains dried rodent urine, saliva or droppings that contain the virus.
Deer mice are the only carriers of the virus in Washington state.
This is the first case of HPS reported in Washington this year and the fourth in Grant County in the past decade. Another Grant County resident survived the illness last year. The previous two cases — both in 2012 — were both fatal.
HPS illness usually starts one to six weeks after a person breathes in the virus. Early signs include fever, muscle aches, headaches, chills, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. As the disease gets worse, it causes coughing and shortness of breath, which can lead to respiratory failure.
People with hantavirus are usually hospitalized and about one in three people diagnosed have died, the health district says.
The virus can be prevented by avoiding wild rodents and keeping them out of living spaces. Health officials recommend removing their sources of food, water and shelter and keeping these areas rodent-proofed.