Health officials and laboratory results have confirmed that an Eagle County resident has died from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) following exposure to hantavirus. The victim was an adult male. The last hantavirus case in Eagle County was in 2005.
Hantavirus is carried by deer mice that are common to rural areas throughout Colorado. Infection can occur if mouse urine and droppings that contain hantavirus are stirred up into the air and inhaled; or if people touch urine, droppings or nesting materials that contain the virus then touch their eyes, nose or mouth; or through a bite. The virus does not spread from person to person.
Deer mice are brown on top and white underneath and have large ears. Common house mice are all gray, have smaller ears and don’t carry hantavirus.
Hantavirus causes death in approximately 40 percent of cases. Symptoms begin from one to six weeks after exposure and include high fever, severe body aches, headache and vomiting. Initially, there are no respiratory symptoms. Because no effective treatment exists for hantavirus, prevention is the key to avoiding infection.
Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis has identified the man who died from exposure to hantavirus as 41-year-old Manuel Hernandez. Hernandez had resided in Eagle County for approximately two months prior to his death.
This is the 5th hantavirus case in Colorado this year to date. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page