Through 2011, the CDC had identified a total of 587 cases in 34 states. Of those cases, 556 occurred in or after 1993, when an outbreak in the “Four Corners” area of the Southwest killed at least 26 people. About three-quarters of the victims live in rural areas, and 36% of reported cases have resulted in death.
Hantavirus spreads through urine, droppings or saliva of infected rodents, primarily deer mice, Hantavirus takes between one and six weeks before causing symptoms in humans. The disease is generally transmitted when people come in contact with an enclosed area that has been infested by mice, and most infections are caused by breathing small particles of mouse urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air. If contracted, symptoms include fever, headache, and muscle ache, and the disease progresses rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing and, in some cases, death.