The New Mexico Department of Health confirms the state’s first Hantavirus case of 2019. A 50-year old woman from McKinley County was hospitalized and is now resting at home. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a severe respiratory illness caused by the Sin Nombre virus and can be deadly.

HPS displays flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle aches, which may be accompanied by chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cough. HPS can be transmitted by breathing in the virus which can occur when urine or droppings containing the virus are emitted into the air as mist or dust.

Hantavirus can also be transmitted by touching the eyes, nose or mouth after someone touches urine or droppings that contain the virus. The virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person.

Deer mice are the main carriers of Hantavirus, and symptoms can develop with one to six weeks after exposure to mice droppings and urine. To prevent the virus, NMDOH suggests avoiding contact with mice and other rodents.

While there is no cure for HPS, chances of recovery are best when an individual seeks medical attention early. According to The New Mexico Department of Health, in the past ten years, there have been 37 cases of HPS in the state. 21 of those people survived the disease.

There were no cases in New Mexico in 2018 and five cases in 2017.

For more information on Hantavirus, visit The New Mexico Department of Health.