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This Year's First Fatal Case of Hantavirus Reported in New Mexico


New Mexico health officials are confirming the first fatal case of hantavirus this year.

The state health department says the victim was a 42-year-old woman from McKinley County—on the Arizona border. The agency conducted an environmental investigation at the woman’s home but didn’t release any details about how she contracted the virus.

The respiratory disease is fatal in about 40 percent of cases. It can be transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva that contain the microscopic virus.

Early symptoms include fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and a cough that progresses to respiratory distress.

This is the second case reported in New Mexico this year. The other patient, also from McKinley County, survived. New Mexico reported five cases in 2017 and none in 2018.