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Hantavirus Death Confirmed On Pine Ridge

June 4, 2012, 11:23 AM

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The president of the Oglala Sioux tribe says Monday a young tribal member recently died from an illness caused by a virus that's carried by rats.

Pine Ridge Indian Health Service administrators told tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele that the girl, who was 10 or younger, died from hantavirus.

People can get hantavirus through contact with infected rodents or their waste. The disease can cause respiratory failure.

The girl's death represents the first known case of hantavirus on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The Centers for Disease Control says hantavirus was first detected in the United States in 1993.

Through early March, there were 587 reported cases of the disease in the United States, including 16 in South Dakota and 12 in North Dakota.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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