Posted: May 17, 2013 3:52 PM by KBZK Media Center
Updated: May 18, 2013 12:30 PM
UPDATE: The woman who died of Hantavirus in Gallatin County has been identified as RheaLynn Baxter.
A post on her Facebook page says that she was in the emergency room in Bozeman overnight May 7-8 with what was thought to be a "nasty virus." On May 11, another post indicated she had passed away. A post from her mom on the page that was made Thursday says that RheaLynn was officially diagnosed with Hantavirus.
In a press release issued today, the Gallatin County Health Department confirmed it was Hantavirus that killed the young woman.
BOZEMAN - A Gallatin County woman has died after contracting Hantavirus, according to the Gallatin City-County Health Department.
The woman in her 20s is the 10th person reported to have died from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Montana since 1993. This is the first Hantavirus-related death in Montana in 2013.
This is one of two recently reported cases in the state. The other is a man in his 40s from Carbon County. Both persons appear to have been recently exposed to rodents.
The health department points out that Hantavirus is not transmitted from person to person. The greatest risk is associated with exposure to rodent feces in closed, dry areas.
"People can contract the illness when they breathe in air contaminated by the virus. It is important to avoid actions that raise dust, such as sweeping or vacuuming if signs of rodents are present. We are coming up on long holiday weekends and people will be out cleaning up their garages, sheds and summer cabins. Protecting yourself and cleaning correctly is essential," DPHHS Director Richard Opper said in the news release.
When cleaning out areas where rodents nest, the health department suggests the following precautions:
- Wear rubber or plastic gloves
- Thoroughly spray/soak areas with disinfectant or mixture of 1 ½ cups of bleach to a gallon of water to disinfect and reduce dry dusty conditions in the area being cleaned
- Wipe or mop the area with a sponge or paper towel (throw away items after use)
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after removing gloves
- Never sweep or vacuum in these areas as it can stir up dust and aerosolize the droppings
Photo from Facebook