SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane County man in his 50s has died from complications of hantavirus disease, the county’s first confirmed fatality tied to the illness.

Hantavirus is caused by infection usually spread by infected mouse droppings.

Health officials said Thursday the man likely came into contact with the virus inside a barn located in Adams County.

In the Northwest, deer mice are the only carriers of this hantavirus strain. The greatest risk for exposure occurs when people enter enclosed areas with mice infestation and poor air circulation.

The Washington Department of Health says this is the state’s fifth case of hantavirus disease in 2017 and third death.

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