Health District confirms Hantavirus case in Washoe County

Nov 8, 2022

Reno/Sparks, Nev. Nov. 8, 2022 – The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) is reporting a confirmed Hantavirus case of a Washoe County resident.

The person is a teenage male who has been hospitalized. There is no update on the person’s condition and a case investigation is ongoing.

This is the first Hantavirus case reported in Washoe County since December 2020. Since 2019, there have been four cases reported with one death.

Hantavirus is a rare respiratory disease that can cause serious illness in humans. It spreads by breathing in or touching viral particles after exposure to infected rodents, most commonly deer mice. This typically occurs when working or recreating in areas where mouse droppings, urine, or saliva may have collected or when cleaning up rodent droppings or nesting material.

Hantavirus symptoms develop anywhere from a few days up to 8 weeks after exposure. Initial symptoms can include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, chills and dizziness. Late symptoms develop four to 10 days after initial symptoms and include coughing, shortness of breath and fluid buildup in the lungs.

There is no specific treatment for hantavirus; however, anyone with these symptoms after contact with deer mice or their waste should seek medical attention immediately. If infected individuals are recognized early and receive medical care, health outcomes may improve.

Here are some guidelines to follow when cleaning in areas with mouse activity:

  • Do not sweep or vacuum the area with urine, droppings, or nesting material.
  • A solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water should be used when cleaning urine and/or droppings (1.5 cups bleach to 1 gallon of water). Spray the solution on areas with rodent droppings and leave for 5 minutes before wiping the area with disposable paper towels or cloth.
  • Wear gloves (i.e., latex, vinyl, rubber) and a face mask to avoid touching or breathing in viral particles.
  • Identify areas where mice are and plug openings and set traps; a deer mouse can fit through an opening the size of a nickel.

Seek professional assistance from a licensed pest control operator for additional guidance to prevent deer mice from accessing household and living areas.

For additional information on how to safely clean up after rodents, visit Go here for more Hantavirus information from the Centers for Disease Control or Prevention (CDC).

The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.