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First case of Sin Nombre Hantavirus discovered in Washtenaw County

Hantavirus by Rick McCharles is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The first ever case of the Sin Nombre Hantavirus has been discovered in Michigan. A Washtenaw County woman contracted the virus while cleaning a vacant house and is now hospitalized.

The rare disease is usually picked up from inhaling particles of rodent feces and can cause a severe respiratory illness.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun is the state’s Chief Medical Executive. She says the Hantavirus does not present a broader public health threat.

“It’s not transmitted really from person to person, really we think that people get it directly from that rodent. Unfortunately, it does have a 40% fatality rate.”

The state health department is asking people to wear ventilators and other protective equipment if they’re cleaning up places with a lot of rodent droppings.