November 20, 1996 in Nation/World

Rats Killed After Hantavirus Outbreak

Compiled From Wire Services

Public health officials have begun rat extermination programs in the wake of a new outbreak of hantavirus, the possible cause of up to 15 deaths the past three months.

Officials laid rat traps in the Buenos Aires port of La Boca on Monday and in several parts of Buenos Aires province, officials said. Similar precautions are also being taken in southern Patagonia.

Hantavirus, which struck the United States three years ago, has flulike symptoms. Patients also suffer severe breathing problems in the final stages of the illness, which can kill within 24 hours.

The virus is transmitted to humans via contact with rodents or their waste.

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