Murder By Poverty: Honor Student Dies From Dilapidated Housing
A 17-year-old Navajo girl has died of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a serious respiratory disease likely caused by contact with infected rodent droppings.
The teen, of Cameron, Arizona, died January 8, said Del Yazzie, an epidemiologist for the Navajo Epidemiology Center. She was seen at Tuba City Regional Health Care in Tuba City, Arizona, where doctors referred her to the University of New Mexico Hospital. She died en route to Albuquerque, Yazzie said. Officials in Coconino County, Arizona, and the Arizona Department of Health Services independently confirmed the death.
An honor student, the girl lived in a dilapidated house with six other family members, and Yazzie believes various structural and social factors likely put the girl at higher risk of contracting the disease.