NM confirms first hantavirus case of the year

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A McKinley County man is hospitalized in Albuquerque with hantavirus, making him the first person in New Mexico to be diagnosed with the deadly disease so far this year.

The state Health Department says an environmental investigation will be done to determine where the 51-year-old man may have been exposed to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

Hantavirus is contracted by breathing particles of rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Early symptoms include fever and muscle aches, a headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and a cough.

Health Department veterinarian Paul Ettestad says officials want everyone to be aware that hantavirus is present throughout the state.

In 2010 there was one case and the McKinley County woman recovered.

In 2009, New Mexico had four cases of hantavirus, none fatal. There were two fatal cases in 2008.