Cameron girl dies from Hantavirus, epidemiologist says dilapidated housing conditions to blame

 


CAMERON, Ariz. - A 17-year-old Navajo girl died of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a serious respiratory disease likely caused by contact with infected rodent droppings.

The teen, of Cameron, Arizona, died Jan. 8, said Del Yazzie, an epidemiologist for the Navajo Epidemiology Center. Doctors at Tuba City Regional Health Care in Tuba City, Arizona, referred her to the University of New Mexico Hospital. She died on the way 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. Yazzie believes various structural and social factors likely put the girl at higher risk of contracting the disease.

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