San Juan County woman, 67, is state's first Hantavirus death this year

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SANTA FE, New Mexico — New Mexico health officials say a 67-year-old woman has become the first person to die of Hantavirus this year.

The state Department of Health said Tuesday that the San Juan County home of the woman is being investigated to help reduce the risk of infection for others.

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

The department says the deer mouse is the main reservoir for the Hantavirus strain found in New Mexico.

Health Department Secretary Retta Ward says all residents should follow prevention guidelines and avoid contact with mice and other rodents. She says they must use caution when cleaning out sheds, cabins or buildings that have been closed for winter.

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