Everett man sickened with hantavirus

An Everett man who was sickened with hantavirus earlier this summer is a reminder to take care when camping or sweeping or cleaning at home, public health officials say.

The man, who is in his 40s, is recovering from the virus he acquired while camping in central Washington.

The man’s case is thought to have occurred in late June.

No further information, such as whether the man was hospitalized, was immediately available, said Suzanne Pate, spokeswoman.

Hantavirus is spread by inhaling dust from droppings, urine or nesting materials of infected deer mice.

Initially it causes symptoms such as fatigue, fever and muscle aches. It can progress to cause shortness of breath, and can kill.

The Snohomish County man is thought to be the second case reported so far this year in Washington, Pate said. A King County patient was recently hospitalized with hantavirus and then discharged, she said.

Typically, one to five cases are reported in the state each year.

Hantavirus can occur anywhere in the state because mice are found throughout Washington, said Mary Small, a spokeswoman for the Chelan-Douglas Health District, the area of the state where the Everett man was camping.

Nationally, 534 hantavirus cases have been reported, more than 500 of which have occurred since 1993, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty-six percent of all cases have resulted in death.

Health officials say the risk of getting the virus can be reduced by airing out cabins, checking for signs of rodent infestation and disinfecting cabins or shelters before sleeping in them.

Instead of sweeping or vacuuming, spray areas with a mix of 1 1/2 cups of bleach to a gallon of water.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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