Test results for the hantavirus, which is suspected in West Vancouver resident Ted Pelly's death, will not be available for another week or two, but even if the virus is determined to have caused his death, he may not have contracted the disease in Whistler.
Pelly died July 10. Officials originally suspected he contracted the disease the previous week when he visited his cabin in Whistler. However, local health official Angie Spitz said this week the incubation period for hantavirus is 5-45 days. Pelly came down with symptoms of the disease approximately two days after visiting Whistler.
That doesn't mean he couldn't have contracted the disease on a previous trip to Whistler, but health officials are still determining Pelly's whereabouts for the 45 days before he showed symptoms.
Hantavirus is extremely rare; as of June only 120 cases have been reported in all of Canada and the United States. The virus is normally found only in rodents, especially deer mice. People can get the disease by breathing in the virus that is found in the urine, saliva or droppings of infected rodents. It begins as a flu-like illness. As the disease gets worse fluid builds up in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. About half of all people who have contracted the disease in North America have died.