The state Health Department has reported a new case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome - in a 21-year-old Cibola County woman who is recovering at an Albuquerque hospital.
The woman became ill May 23 and was hospitalized May 27, the agency reported Wednesday.The Health Department says the woman cleaned her trailer a few weeks before becoming ill, and the agency warned people to exercise caution when opening up or cleaning enclosed spaces such as cabins. The disease is usually spread through airborne particles of rodent waste.
"When a trailer, garage, shed or similar structure has been closed up for a while, there can be a buildup of droppings carrying the virus. Then when someone opens the door, the virus is spread through the air and inhaled," an agency news release says.
It says the state Environment Department will conduct an assessment to help determine how the woman contracted the respiratory illness.
The Health Department said the latest case brings the number of New Mexico hantavirus cases to 21, including 11 deaths.
The last confirmed New Mexico case was that of a 30-year-old Cibola County woman who died Jan. 29.