Not since 1999 has Washington State seen such an outbreak of this potentially deadly virus.

Thursday, the Washington State Department of Health issued a statement saying 3 people have now died this year from confirmed cases of the Hanta virus, which is spread largely by deer mice. There have been confirmed fatal cases in King, Spokane and Franklin Counties. Two other people contracted it, but have survived.

The WSDH said this in a statement:

"Deer mice are known to carry hantavirus. People can become infected by breathing in air contaminated with the virus, through direct contact with hantavirus-infected deer mice, and from saliva, urine, droppings, or nesting material.
It is important to eliminate or minimize contact with rodents and to take precautions when cleaning rodent-infested areas. Hantavirus cannot be spread from person-to-person. People can follow these simple steps to protect themselves."
 As gruesome as that may sound, these small tiny mice can infiltrate living and eating areas often without leaving much trace of their activity.  The Health Department released a video as well showing ways to protect yourself from this harmful virus. See the video by clicking here.