New Mexico Announces Second Hantavirus Case

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The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that a 65-year-old man from San Miguel County is hospitalized in critical condition at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque with the state's second case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome this year.

The Department of Health confirmed the case of Hantavirus on Wednesday and is conducting an environmental investigation to look for places where the man may have been exposed to the virus. Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva.

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People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. The deer mouse is the main carrier of Hantavirus in New Mexico. The Department of Health urges health-care workers and the general public to learn the symptoms of Hantavirus.

Early symptoms of Hantavirus are fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cough. These symptoms develop within one to six weeks after rodent exposure. Although there is no specific treatment for Hantavirus, chances for recovery are better if medical attention is sought early.

The first Hantavirus case in 2009 was in a 25-year-old woman from Santa Fe County who recovered. In 2008, New Mexico had two cases of Hantavirus, both fatal, from Taos and Otero counties.

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