Woman In Santa Fe Dies From Hantavirus

Nov 1, 2013

The New Mexico Department of Heath has announced that a woman in Santa Fe has died from Hantavirus. It’s the second reported case in the state this year

Preliminary investigations indicate that the Hantavirus was acquired locally, likely within the woman’s home. But the Department of Health says it will also be performing an investigation at the patient’s house to make sure there's no risk to others. The woman’s identity has not yet been released.

The Hantavirus is a relatively rare disease. Since it was discovered in the state in 1993, New Mexico has seen just 93 cases. But according to Dr. Paul Ettestad, the department’s Public Health Veterinarian, if you do get it, the consequences can be serious.

"There starts to be leakage in the lungs and people start to have difficulty breathing," Ettestad explained. "If someone actually does have Hantavirus, unfortunately from our 93 cases, we’ve actually had 38 fatalities."

Transmission of the Hantavirus occurs through infected rodent droppings and urine.

There is no specific treatment for the disease, but chances for survival are better if medical attention is sought early.