resident dies of
Express Staff Writer
part-time Wood River Valley resident has died from hantavirus.
to an obituary in The Idaho Statesman, Bradley William Coffin, 37, died
June 24 at St. Lukeís Regional Medical Center in Boise.
whose primary home was in Cascade, had owned Sawtooth Pest Control.
According to South Central District Health, he had worked at various
locales in the Wood River Valley for at least two weeks before he became
ill, though it is not yet known whether he was in the valley for the
entire five-week gestation period of the virus.
Central District Health Epidemiologist Cheryle Becker said one other
person worked with the pest control company for part of that time but
has shown no symptoms of the disease.
is contracted by contact with rodents, like the deer mouse and cotton
rat. Deer mice can be recognized by their white belly; the ordinary
house mouse has not been associated with the virus. Becker said 10 to 20
percent of deer mice are infected.
was the 17th, and sixth fatality, in Idaho since reporting of
hantavirus began in 1993.
in the United States began in the Four Corners area of the Southwest,
and have spread to 31 states, including all the Rocky Mountain and West
Coast states. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 318 cases
have been reported throughout the country, 37 percent of which have been
usually occurs when someone disturbs an area contaminated with rodent
droppings or nesting materials. If those materials are swept or shaken
into the air, the virus may be inhaled and produce an infection.
attacks the respiratory system. Flu-like symptoms, including a fever and
muscle aches, develop one to five weeks after infection, followed
rapidly by shortness of breath and coughing. Difficulty in breathing
have been reported in which the virus was spread from person to person,
according to South Central District Health.
agency recommends that people take the following steps to avoid
Keep mice out of your house and yard.
Always air out barns, cabins or other enclosed areas for at least
two hours before cleaning. Wear gloves and a filter mask and wet down
infested areas with a disinfectant. Scoop up materialsódonít sweep
or vacuum them. Seal contaminated materials in a plastic bag. Shower
when youíre done.
Stay out of cabins until disinfected and avoid sleeping on bare
When harvesting crops or animal feed, wear gloves and a mask if
dust is generated.
no vaccine or medication for hantavirus.
only prevention is to keep from getting exposed in the first
place," Becker said.