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Health Officials Issue Warning After Eagle County Man Dies From Hantavirus

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EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A man in Eagle County has died from hantavirus, a disease that kills nearly half of the people who get infected.

“We have not had a case since 2005, so it is a little rare for us to see that in Eagle County,” said Jennifer Ludwig, Eagle County Public Health Director.

Deer mice carry hantavirus (credit: cdphe.state.co.us)

Deer mice carry hantavirus (credit: cdphe.state.co.us)

Just two weeks ago the man, who recently moved to Eagle County, was infected and died at a local hospital. Now county officials are urging people to be aware.

“Hantavirus is a very serious illness and about 40 percent of the cases are fatal,” Ludwig said.

In Colorado nearly all cases come from contact with the deer mouse’s excrement.

“The most important thing to not do is sweep or vacuum, because that causes the material to aerosolize,” Ludwig said.

The excrement is most commonly found near wood piles, or cleaning outhouses or sheds that were locked up for the winter.

Large muscle aches can be one sign of the virus.

“Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea are other signs and symptoms.”

Health officials say it can take six weeks to see symptoms.

“We don’t believe that anybody else was exposed or at risk,” Ludwig said. “This unfortunate event is an opportunity to let people know hantavirus, while rare, is still a threat in the community, as it is everywhere in Colorado.”

LINK: CDC – Hantavirus

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