Yakima, WA—-The Yakima Health District (YHD) has received confirmation from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the death earlier this month of a Yakima County man in his 50s was caused by hantavirus. This is the first hantavirus death in Washington State since 2009 and the first case reported in the state for 2011. Because hantavirus is fatal in about one of every three cases, YHD is encouraging residents to take simple precautions to prevent exposure to this rare but life-threatening infection.
YHD Health Officer, Dr. Christopher Spitters offers, “We extend our condolences to the family of this man. This rare and unfortunate event that led to his demise is a reminder of the importance of taking steps to maintain sanitation in general, to avoid rodent infestation in particular, and to exercise caution when encountering or cleaning up rodent infested areas.”