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Pine Ridge Helps Residents Avoid Hantavirus

June 12, 2012, 12:04 PM by Derek Olson

Pine Ridge Helps Residents Avoid Hantavirus
PINE RIDGE, SD -

Officials in Pine Ridge are taking action after two confirmed cases of Hantavirus involving young sisters.  The illness killed one of the girls.

Hantavirus is a disease that's carried by certain kinds of rodents and spread when dust from their droppings is stirred into the air and inhaled.

Symptoms start out as flu-like, with fatigue and aching muscles.  But if it's left untreated, it can escalate into breathing problems that can be deadly.

"You know, what happened to the little ones is really sad.  But I'm hoping through prayers that conditions will get better and our people will be stronger," Pine Ridge Mayor Carole Crazy Thunder-O'Rourke said.

Federal and tribal authorities are supplying families with bleach and other cleaning supplies as well as surgical masks and gloves.

Because the virus is airborne, people are also urged not to use a broom or vacuum cleaner to clean up rodent droppings. Instead, spray down the entire area with a bleach-water mixture and wipe it up with a disposable cloth.

We'll hear more from officials about how they're taking the two cases seriously tonight on KELOLAND News.

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