Unfortunately, there are now reports of another probable case of hantavirus in the the Cascade foothills of the Puget Sound area. A woman from Issaquah, living near the Squak Mountain area, where the recent fatality lived has been hospitalized with what is believed to be the disease.
My deepest hopes for recovery go out to her and her family and loved ones.
Also unfortunately, it appears that the local health authorities continue to believe it their duty to minimize, allay concerns, and generally downplay the very real and current threat of hantavirus.
I spoke with Jeff Duchin, the King County Health Commissioner a week or so ago about this elevated threat. I described, in detail, the increase in deer mouse population that was being seen in the area.
His response was, "We'll just have to wait and see," about whether the the two known hantavirus cases raised concerns. Now we have a third case, and, quoted in the King5 article, "Health officials do not believe the two cases are connected but say there are reports of more deer mice in the area."
Three cases, at least, in rapid sequence after 13 years without a single case is a hantavirus cluster.
On at least a small scale, it is a hantavirus outbreak.