New Mexico health officials confirm first hantavirus case of 2024

SANTA FE, N.M. — Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health confirmed the first hantavirus case of 2024.

According to NMDOH, aSan Juan County man was hospitalized, released and is at home recovering now.

Officials say hantavirus is often a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease. Last year, New Mexico saw seven reported hantavirus cases in residents in McKinley, San Juan and Taos counties. Two of those people reportedly died.

Health officials say deer mice are the primary carriers of the virus. The virus is often found in mice droppings and urine. People typically get exposed to the virus around their homes, cabins or sheds, especially while cleaning out or exploring enclosed areas with droppings.

Symptoms typically arise within 1-6 weeks after exposure and include fever and muscle aches, possibly accompanied by:

  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cough

They say the abdominal pain and cough can progress to respiratory distress and severe illness.

Officials say to avoid exposure to rodents and their nests. They also say these steps help reduce your risk:

  • Air out closed-up structures, like cabins, sheds and abandoned or stored vehicles, before entering
  • Trap mice until they’re all gone
  • Seal up homes and shelters to prevent rodents from entering
  • Soak nests and droppings with disinfectant such as 10% bleach solution before cleaning them up
  • Do not sweep up rodent droppings into the area where they can be inhaled
  • Put hay, wood and compost piles as far as possible from your home
  • Dispose of trash and junk piles
  • Don’t leave your pet’s food and water where mice can get to it

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