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Health officials issue warning after patients in several states contract rare rodent-borne virus

DENVER, CO. – Denver health officials have issued a warning after a resident was diagnosed with a rare rodent-borne virus that has symptoms similar to the flu.

Denver Public Health announced Tuesday that a confirmed case of hantavirus was reported in the city. Most cases of hantavirus occur after exposure to rodents or rodent droppings. The rare disease can be deadly if it is not detected.

Patients experience symptoms similar to the flu, like ever, chills, and headaches.

The patient may have been exposed to the virus in a central Denver apartment building, according to a release by health officials. This is the first case of hantavirus reported in Denver since 1993.

Recently, a woman in New Mexico was also diagnosed with the potentially fatal virus. According to KRQE, Kiley Lane is fighting for her life in the ICU unit at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

KRQE also reports a 9-year-old boy contracted hantavirus in January, but his family thought it was the flu. They were in and out of the hospital until he was diagnosed with the virus just last week. Now he’s fighting for his life in a Colorado hospital.

Denver health officials say the transition from hantavirus infection to respiratory failure is rapid – typically 4 to 12 hours after the onset of dry cough and shortness of breath. So if you think you may have the virus, you should go to the critical-care unit as quickly as possible.