Park County deputy dies unexpectedly, Hantavirus suspected

FAIRPLAY, Colo. - A Park County deputy's death is believed to have been the result of Hantavirus.

On Monday, the sheriff's office learned that Deputy Joseph Edward Ybarra Hamilton, 29,  had died.

A statement from the sheriff's office sent out on Wednesday said Hamilton was previously in good health and had just bought a house in southeastern Park County.  He had been working to clean up sheds and out-buildings on the property.

"Based on his symptoms, medical authorities suspect Deputy Hamilton may have been exposed to Hantavirus at his recently purchased home where he may have come into contact with rodent droppings," Undersheriff Monte Gore said in a statement.

Hantavirus is present in the saliva, urine and feces of infected mice. People are infected by breathing in the virus during direct contact with rodents or from disturbing dust and feces from mice nests or surfaces contaminated with mice droppings or urine.

An autopsy is being performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Funeral arrangements are being made by Deputy Hamilton’s family.

Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment info on Hantavirus:

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