Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hanta Virus reported at South Dakota reservation

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – While many Oglala Sioux residents living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation had heard about an outbreak of hantavirus in the Navajo Nation in 1993, they weren't worried about the disease spread by rodents until a 7-year-old member of their tribe died last week.

Tribal officials said late Monday night a second case has developed, and they are working with several agencies to pass out hundreds of cleaning kits that include gloves, masks and bleach to help prevent further spread of the disease. Rodents shed the virus in their urine, waste and saliva, and it can become airborne in particles of dust.

The Navajo outbreak, in which several otherwise healthy young people died after suffering acute respiratory failure, led to the discovery of hantavirus. But it was hundreds of miles away and nearly two decades ago. Pine Ridge didn't need to worry about that, residents thought.
"Until it hit us ... it was something we couldn't even imagine," tribal spokeswoman Donna Salomon said. Read More