Hantavirus may be rare, but it's deadly

Eight reported cases in C. Oregon since 1993

Hantavirus may be rare but its can be...

BEND, Ore. - Hantavirus is a sickness contracted when you come into contact with mouse droppings.

And while it may not be a very common sickness, it is still deadly.

There have been eight reported cases of hantavirus in Central Oregon, in both Jefferson and Deschutes counties, since 1993.

This virus is carried in deer mice through their urine or feces.

Heather Kaisner with Deschutes County Health Services said Thursday it can be extremely deadly if you are trying to clean up mouse droppings from certain types of mice without proper equipment.

"It would be wearing a mask and gloves, and wetting the dropping with part bleach part water, spraying it down, making sure it is very wet so it can't aerosolize, letting it sit for about 10 minutes," Kaisner said. "And then just taking, you know, a washcloth or paper towel and scooping that up and throwing it in the garbage."

Susie Moon reached out to NewsChannel 21 to share the story of her son, Brad Buckley, who was a lover of the outdoors, according to Moon, and a very selfless person.

Moon said Buckley worked with wildlife and knew the dangers of the hantavirus.

However, he still got the virus and eventually died from the respiratory illness in 2010.

Moon said she wanted to make sure that people are aware of this rare but deadly sickness, in hopes that it might be able to help save lives.

"I always feel warmth in my heart when someone remembers him, and tells me that they do, so I just want to honor him by educating people about it," Moon said.

Buckley was 35 when he passed away.

Moon said they believe he got the virus while helping a friend tear down an attic and install an open-beam ceiling.  

He wore a mask, as recommended, but they believe his beard held onto the particles that were carrying the virus. 

Moon hopes to turn something so tragic in her life into a positive.

For more information on hantavirus across Oregon, click here.

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