Hantavirus suspected in unexpected death of sheriff’s deputy
PARK COUNTY, Colo. — Hantavirus is suspected in the unexpected death of a 29-year-old Park County sheriff’s deputy earlier this week.
Undersheriff Monte Gore says Deputy Joseph Hamilton was not feeling well when he went home Saturday night.
By Monday morning, he had died.
Gore and his wife were cleaning out a home they bought recently in southeastern Park County.
Gore says hantavirus is suspected of causing Hamilton’s death. But an autopsy needs to be completed to confirm that theory.
“Sheriff Wegener and the staff of the Park County Sheriff’s Office offer our most sincere condolences to Deputy Hamilton’s family and friends,” Gore says.
Hantavirus comes from exposure to rodent droppings or urine, especially from animals like the deer mouse.
People need to protect themselves when cleaning out old areas where there is a lot of dust.
“People are infected by breathing in the virus during direct contact with rodents or from disturbing dust and feces from mice nests or surfaces contaminated with mice droppings or urine,” says the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
Wear masks and even dampen dusty areas prior to cleaning to keep the harmful dust to a minimum.
See more information about hantavirus here.