Human case of Hantavirus in New Mexico, Infected mice in California; Horse infected with rabies by bobcat in Florida; Human case of West Nile Virus in Georgia.

Deer mice and other wild rodents most often are the carriers of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the Western United States.

New Mexico  05/06/10  Santa Fe –  A McKinley County woman is hospitalized in Albuquerque with hantavirus, making her the first person in New Mexico to contract the deadly disease so far this year.  The state Health Department said an environmental investigation will be done to determine where the 44-year-old woman 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 said officials want everyone to be aware that hantavirus is present throughout the state and precautions need to be taken to avoid exposure.



California  04/30/10  Mice in Devore and Coyote Canyon near Fontana have tested positive for hantavirus, a deadly disease that can afflict people who come into contact with infected rodents or the animals’ urine and droppings, say San Bernardino County health officials.  The test results received Tuesday do no amount to an emergency, officials said. But they urge residents and visitors in those areas to avoid contact with rodents and to take steps to reduce the rodent population.



Florida  05/24/10  by David Gould – Palm City — A horse that was scratched by a bobcat last week has tested positive for rabies. The attack occurred on May 21 on Cherokee Street in Palm City.  Health officials say that this is the first case of rabies in Martin County this year.  Martin County reports that last year three animals tested positive for rabies, including a bobcat, a raccoon and a fox.  The horse will be placed in quarantine for six months. 


Georgia  05/20/10  by Craig Schneider – The appearance of a West Nile case two months before the peak season has worried public health officials.  But health experts acknowledge that getting people alarmed over West Nile virus has become a tougher task.  The number of confirmed cases has dropped significantly in the state and nationally. Metro Atlanta counties, looking to cut costs in a tight economy, have slashed funding for tracking and prevention.  “It’s become hard to beat the drum,” said Elmer Gray, a entomologist with the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Georgia.  The confirmed case of a 54-year-old Clayton County man in early May has raised concerns that this could be an irksome season for the virus, which most often causes none to minor symptoms but can cause severe illness and even death.  “It is on us now,” said Hayla Hall, spokeswoman for District 4 Public Health, a 12-county area south of Atlanta that includes Henry, Fayette and Coweta counties. “It could be a rough summer.”


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