WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Health officials on Tuesday reported the Navajo Nation's first case this year of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease spread by infected rodent droppings.

The case was confirmed in McKinley County in northwestern New Mexico but it wasn't known how the person contracted hantavirus, the tribal Department of Health said.

Hantavirus typically is reported in spring and summer, often due to exposures that occur when people are near mouse droppings in homes, sheds or poorly ventilated areas.

Recommended precautions to limit the spread of hantavirus include ventilating and cleaning areas where they might be mouse droppings, according to a department statement.

“It is essential to take appropriate precautions when entering and cleaning sheds, garages, campers, cabins, barns, and other buildings," the statement said. “The illness is not spread from person to person."

The Navajo Nation's reservation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

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