Washoe County reports man dies from rodent disease exposure
RENO — A Nevada man in his 20s has died after being hospitalized because of recent exposure to rodent droppings, health officials said.
The Washoe County Health District reported Tuesday that the cause of death was hantavirus, the first death from the disease in the county this year and the third since 2019.
Infected rodents can carry hantavirus and release it in their droppings, urine or saliva, which can then be transmitted to people breathing in the contaminated air or people who touch something contaminated and then touch their face. About 38% of all hantavirus cases are deadly, officials said.
“While rare, this disease is very serious and a reminder for other residents to be very careful in areas where rodents, especially deer mice, are active,” District Health Officer Kevin Dick said. “Our thoughts go out to the family of this resident.”
District health officials urge people to take precautions when entering spaces where mice may have been present, such as storage places, garages, sheds, cabins and barns, since rodents show no signs of the disease.