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15-year-old in northwestern New Mexico dies from hantavirus

September 6, 2019 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Hantavirus has claimed the life of a teenager in northwestern New Mexico.

The state Department of Health said Friday the death of a 15-year-old McKinley County boy is the third case of hantavirus in New Mexico this year and the second death.

Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in the virus that is suspended in the air.

Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel says people need to avoid contact with mice and other rodents and be careful when cleaning up and avoid disturbing rodent droppings and nests, particularly in closed spaces such as sheds.

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The department says the deer mouse is the main source for the hantavirus strain most commonly found in New Mexico.