State and federal health officials have confirmed that hantavirus killed a Yakima man earlier this month.

Share story

State and federal health officials have confirmed that hantavirus killed a Yakima man earlier this month.

The death of the man in his 50s is the first hantavirus death in Washington state since 2009 and the first case of the illness in the state this year.

Hantavirus is fatal in about one of every three cases, so Yakima health officials are encouraging residents to take precautions.

In Washington, the most common carriers of the illness are deer mice. Health officials advise people to ventilate shed and similar areas before cleaning, use a bleach solution to soak the area before cleaning or mopping and double bag all cleaning materials.

Early signs of hantavirus arrive one to six weeks after exposure and resemble the flu.

Since 1993, 41 cases have been reported in Washington State, resulting in 13 deaths.