Young Mom Dies From Rare Hantavirus, Her Mother Shares Story To Spread Awareness

After losing her daughter to hantavirus, Julie Barron hopes to spread awareness about the infection to help save someone else.

Hantavirus from rodent droppings
M Rose / Shutterstock

After losing her daughter to hantavirus, Julie Barron hopes to spread awareness about the infection to help save someone else.

Kiley Lane – a young mother and preschool teacher – has spent the last two months fighting hantavirus. Her mother, Julie Barron, spent days awake and at her daughter’s hospital bedside. Barron feared that if she left or went to sleep, she would miss seeing her daughter wake up. According to TODAY, Julie never got to see her daughter wake up as she stopped breathing and passed away on April 18.

Julie made the decision to share her daughter’s story to not only honor the memory of Kiley, but to raise awareness about hantavirus.

“We wouldn’t want anyone else to have to go through this. We had the absolute best caregivers. I don’t know that we got her to them soon enough.”

It was back in January when the 27-year-old first experienced stomach cramps. The stomach cramps became so serious that her husband took her to the hospital. At the time, the doctors believed the young mother had a blockage. She was sent home with laxatives but returned to the ER when they didn’t help.

She stayed at the hospital for observation, but her doctors were not sure what to make of her symptoms. After several days of observation, they released her and sent her home. Kiley’s husband, Kevin, called Julie for help as he struggled to care for his sick wife as well as their 2-year-old daughter.

When Barron arrived, she noted she became overwhelmed by the appearance of her daughter. She knew something wasn’t right and she started calling doctors to get answers. Before Julie was able to figure anything out, her daughter was rushed back to the hospital and placed on a ventilator. After running a battery of tests, Kiley was diagnosed with hantavirus. This diagnosis came weeks after she started showing signs of the infection.

Her family told TODAY that doctors had no idea how the young mother came into contact with the infection.

The Hantavirus is Extremely Rare

According to the CDC, there are only 728 cases of confirmed hantavirus in the United States since January of 2017, and 36 percent of them were fatal. The most notable outbreak of the hantavirus was in 2012 when it killed three campers at the Yosemite National Park.

Hantavirus is contracted from exposure to the fecal matter, urine, or saliva from several different rodents. According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the hantavirus is to avoid rodents. To date, there is no treatment for the hantavirus. If caught early enough, doctors can treat the symptoms. Early on, those suffering from hantavirus appear to have a cold or the flu.

Julie reiterated several times during her interview with TODAY that she believed her daughter received excellent care from her healthcare providers. She hopes sharing her daughter’s story can prevent another family from suffering such a tragic loss.