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New Mexico Confirms First 2010 Hantavirus Case

Public Health

The state's health department announced on Thursday that a 44-year-old woman from McKinley County has been hospitalized in critical condition after contracting the virus.

| May 7, 2010

SANTA FE, N.M. —  The New Mexico Department of Health announced on Thursday that a 44-year-old woman from McKinley County has been hospitalized in critical condition at UNM Hospital in Albuquerque with the state’s first case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome this year.

An environmental investigation will be conducted to determine where the woman may have been exposed to the virus. “We want everyone to be aware that Hantavirus is present through out our state and that precautions need to be taken to avoid rodents and their droppings,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Department’s public health veterinarian.

“Most people are exposed to Hantavirus in or around their homes, especially when they clean out enclosed areas that have lots of mouse droppings. The best defense against Hantavirus is to avoid disturbing areas of rodent infestation, including nests and droppings. As warmer weather occurs, people need to air out their cabins and sheds before entering them for the first time.”

Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. The deer mouse is the main reservoir for Hantavirus in New Mexico.

Source: New Mexico Department of Health

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