HANTAVIRUS UPDATE -
The New Mexico Department of Health is announcing a fatal case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in a 73-year-old woman from
"We extend our sympathy to this woman's family and friends," said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Retta Ward, MPH. "I am asking all New Mexicans to follow our prevention guidelines to keep themselves and their families safe."
Hantavirus [causes] 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 [_Peromyscus maniculatus_] is the main reservoir for Sin Nombre virus, the hantavirus strain most commonly found in
Early symptoms of hantavirus infection include fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cough which progresses to respiratory distress. These symptoms develop within 1-6 weeks after rodent exposure. Although there is no specific treatment for HPS, chances for recovery are better if medical attention is sought early.
"The best defense against being infected with [a] hantavirus is to avoid disturbing areas of rodent infestation, including nests and droppings," said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Department's Public Health Veterinarian. "This is especially important at this time of year when the cold weather is causing rodents to seek shelter and food in homes and other buildings. It is important to seal up homes and other structures that are used by people. Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime."
To protect yourself, avoid contact with mice and other rodents. Other important steps are:
- Air out closed-up buildings before entering
- Seal up homes and cabins so mice can't enter
- Trap mice until they are all gone
- Clean up nests and droppings using a disinfectant
- Don't sweep up rodent droppings into the air where they can be inhaled
- Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home
- Get rid of trash and junk piles
- Don't leave your pet's food and water where mice can get to it
The previous 2013
Since it was 1st discovered in 1993,
Communicated by: ProMED-mail
Although the above report does not say so explicitly, it does mention Sin Nombre virus, which is doubtless the hantavirus responsible for this case of HPS. The rodent host of Sin Nombre virus is _Peromyscus maniculatus_, which is widely distributed in
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