A young man in Duchesne County has died from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, possibly caused while he was cleaning up rodent droppings.
    The man, who was healthy and between the ages of 19 and 29, fell ill and went to a hospital Sept. 2, the Utah Department of Health said. He died the next day.
   The state health department and the TriCounty Health Department are investigating.
   Hantavirus is shed in the urine and fecal droppings of rodents, typically deer mice. Humans can become infected by inhaling dust that contains dried contaminated rodent urine or feces.
   TriCounty spokeswoman Jeramie Tubbs said they don’t know for sure where the man was exposed to the droppings. “It’s extremely difficult to track this down,” he said.
    The last confirmed hantavirus infection in Utah occurred in 2004. From 2000 to 2007, there were a total of 13 confirmed hantavirus cases in Utah, and two people died.
    While hantavirus infections in Utah are rare, they still do occur and are serious, the state health department said in a statement. Initial symptoms include fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Gastrointestinal symptoms and dizziness may also occur. As the disease progresses, symptoms can include cough and shortness of breath.
   State health officials urge Utahns to eliminate or minimize contact with rodents or their droppings.