- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico Department of Health officials have reported the second hantavirus death this year in the state.

They say a 53-year-old woman from McKinley County died while a 35-year-old woman in Lincoln County was hospitalized with hantavirus but has recovered.

State health officials say there have been five lab-confirmed cases of hantavirus in New Mexico this year.

In 2016, there were eight cases in the state with five fatalities.

Hantavirus is a severe respiratory disease in humans.

It is passed to humans by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva and can be fatal.

People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus.

Authorities say the deer mouse is the main carrier of the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico.

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