Local News

October 13, 2012

Suspected hantavirus case in the Adirondacks


The outbreak in 1993 occurred as the population of mice erupted exponentially after two years of drought.

“The key thing, in the Southwest it’s very arid,” Vaughan said.“In the Northeast, it’s more humid, and dust is less common. That’s why I think the bite was the root of infection in my case. I was sleeping.”

The suspected Adirondack hantavirus case follows an outbreak in Yosemite National Park this summer, with nine confirmed cases, including three deaths.


There is no known medical therapy for hantavirus infection, Sivadas said. The illness is treated with supportive care and close monitoring for respiratory stress.

CDC results on Vaughan’s case are expected in a week to 10 days.

As of Friday, there was no official alert for hantavirus in the Adirondacks. 

“If it is confirmed, DEC will assist DOH to investigate how the virus was transmitted to the person and take any other appropriate action as determined by DOH guidance and direction,” DEC spokeswoman Lisa King said Friday.

CDC records online indicate four cases of the disease did occur in New York state this year.

This may be the first known case of hantavirus in Essex County.

“It isn’t something that we have seen here,” said Kathy Daggett, director of preventative services at Essex County Public Health Department. 


And there was no further information about if or when DEC might trap and test mice for hantavirus in the High Peaks.

“I hope they are,” Vaughan said. “But there are probably 10,000 mice per square mile in that area.

“The State Department of Health does do a great deal of work conducting surveillance for hantavirus,” Sivadas said.

Vaughan, who was bitten in Uphill lean-to near Mount Marcy, coordinates 44.108890 N, 73.960410W, suggested hikers remain wary and keep camping and lean-to areas clean to help keep mice at bay.

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