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3rd Utah hantavirus case: W. Jordan man

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A 56-year-old West Jordan man is in serious condition at LDS Hospital with what is Utah's third confirmed case of hantavirus this year.

It is believed the man contracted hantavirus during a visit to Beaver County last month. He has asked that his name not be released, said Jess Gomez, hospital spokesman.

Hantavirus is a potentially deadly respiratory illness carried in rodent urine, feces and dander and spread by inhaling dust that contains those particles. In June, state health officials said tests suggest as many as one-third of the state's extensive deer mouse population may carry the disease. Nearly half of the people who have contracted hantavirus subsequently died from it.

The man was admitted to Alta View Hospital with flulike symptoms Aug. 4. Two days later he was transferred to LDS Hospital, where he remains in serious condition with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a sometimes lethal disease that makes patients feel as if they were drowning.

Earlier this summer, Cathleen Dimick, 47, Wellington, died from hantavirus. Shortly after that, her son, Chris Dimick, 23, was hospitalized with hantavirus. He survived.

Details of how the West Jordan man contracted hantavirus are not clear. But health officials believe the mild winter boosted deer mice populations throughout the state. They have been warning people to use caution when cleaning places that might contain rodent droppings, like sheds, garages and camper shells.

Such areas should be sprayed down with disinfectant to keep the dust from flying. Masks should be worn to filter the dust, and all droppings should be double-bagged.