KAJX

Rare Case Of Hantavirus Reported In Northeast Colorado

Jun 12, 2019

Deer mice carry hantavirus
Credit CREDIT JOHN GOOD / NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE

A case of hantavirus has been reported in Northeast Colorado.

This is the first confirmed case in Colorado this year. Hantavirus is rare; only five cases were reported in the state in 2018, but more than a third of cases are fatal.

Six cases have been reported in Garfield County since 1993.

The virus has never been reported in Pitkin or Eagle counties.

It’s spread through deer mice droppings, often found in cabins, storage facilities and firewood piles. Human activity can stir up the droppings and spread the disease through the air. The flu-like symptoms often take between two and four weeks to develop.

Hantavirus cases spike in June and July, when warm temperatures allow the virus to live for up to three days in droppings.

Garfield County Public Health says people should avoid tight spaces with signs of mice, and to clean up mice droppings using a bleach solution.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that the case was in Garfield County. It is in an unidentified Northeastern Colorado community.