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Hantavirus kills central North Dakotan

BISMARCK — A central North Dakota resident died “recently” due to complications from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, according to the state Department of Health.

The rare disease is spread by infected rodent droppings, saliva and urine — not from human-to-human interaction.

Hantavirus was last reported in North Dakota in 2009. Including this recent case, only 12 cases of the disease have been reported to the state Department of Health since 1993, when the virus was first recognized nationally.

Nationally, through April 21, 2014, 639 cases of Hantavirus have been reported in 34 states, mainly in rural areas. The virus has been fatal in 36 percent of the cases, according to the Department of Health.

Symptoms of the Hantavirus can include dry cough, general ill feeling, headache, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath, according to the National Institutes of Health. Lung failure, heart failure and kidney failure can also occur.

Those who have had exposure to wild rodents and experience these symptoms should contact a physician immediately. The Department of Health reminds people to properly ventilate closed-off, dry areas and dispose of rodent droppings with gloves.

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