The Crestone Eagle, September 2006:

Hantavirus case reported in Saguache County
by Mary Lowers

According to the Saguache County Health Department, a case of Hantavirus was reported in the County. The area of the County where the case in July was reported has had an increase in populations of some rodent hosts of the disease, due to increased vegetation and unusually wet weather. (It is rumored, but not confirmed, that this case was in the Crestone/Baca area) An increase in hantavirus cases with increased moisture has been noted statewide. Deer mice and other rodent carriers of hantavirus are usually found in rural rather than urban areas. There were three cases total reported in the Valley in 2005, an average of one per year from 2001 to 2005.

Saguache County Health Department shared the following information with me about Hantavirus. The incubation period for the virus varies widely but is generally from 1-6 weeks. Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle pain, severe abdominal, joint and lower back pain, nausea and vomiting. Coughing and shortness of breath develop quickly from the onset of symptoms. Fluid buildup in the lungs can quickly progress to respiratory failure. There are no effective drug treatments currently for Hantavirus.

If you have had exposure to rodents and experience the symptoms mentioned, notify a physician as soon as possible. A quick diagnosis is very important in managing care and hopefully insuring a successful outcome of treatment. Call Saguache County public health office with any questions at 719-655-2533. Further information may be obtained at the website www.cdphe.state.co.us.

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