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North Dakota woman dies of rare rodent disease



The unidentified adult woman became ill with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Humans can be exposed to HPS by inhaling air that is contaminated with the virus, when fresh rodent excrement, urine or nesting material is disturbed but not transmitted from person to person.

The woman may have had contact with rodents, urine or feces in the environment, according to a press release. She was neither mentioned in a press release nor was she a resident.

"Humans need to be aware of the presence or detection of wild rodents or rodent nests when cleaning up in a house, barn or other building, especially in rural areas," said Jill Baber, epidemiologist for the department, in one Statement. "It's important to avoid activities that stir up dust, such as sweeping or vacuuming, when there are signs of rodents."

The State Department of Health has received only 1

6 reported cases of HPS since 1993, and eight of them were fatal. The last reported case was 2016.

Early symptoms include fever, muscle and limb pain, tiredness, headache, dizziness, chills, nausea and vomiting. The disease develops in a few days with coughing and severe respiratory distress.


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