HANTAVIRUS DEATH HAS UNUSUAL TWIST 02/12/99 A New Mexico man who died of a hantavirus infection had symptoms that disguised the illness, says a University of New Mexico internal medicine professor. The hantavirus attacked the McKinley County man's kidney's first, Howard Levy said. "While kidney failure is common in hantavirus all around the world, it is noticeably absent in North American strains we've seen," he said. Hantavirus cases in New Mexico since the early 1990s have attacked the lungs and the heart first. "I think the messages to doctors are the disease can present in atypical ways and it can present throughout the year," Levy said. The 42-year-old man died early Tuesday, five hours after he was admitted to University Hospital. Humans contract hantavirus by breathing dust or mist from contaminated rodent feces, urine or saliva. The virus is especially prevalent in deer mice. Most hantavirus cases occur in late spring and summer, but the McKinley County case emphasized that hantavirus infections can occur any time, health officials said. The rodent population could explode this year, which in turn could cause an increase in the number of hantavirus cases, Levy said. "There has been no winter die-off" because of warm winter weather, he said. "I've canceled my summer vacation, believing I'll be working hard with hantavirus this year." Early symptoms of hantavirus include fever and muscle aches, possibly accompanied by chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cough. Symptoms at first can seem like the flu, but quickly develop into serious respiratory problems. The symptoms develop from one to six weeks after rodent exposure. Nearly 210 cases have been confirmed in the United States, including 38 in New Mexico, since the disease was first identified during a 1993 outbreak in the Four Corners area where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet. Eighty-eight cases were fatal, including 18 in New Mexico. The California Military Museum is struggling to survive. A symbolic groundbreaking for the Hispanic Cultural Center.,2107,18362-30325-219732-0,00.html American Indians are more than twice as likely as other groups to be victims of violent crime, the Justice Department reported Sunday in its first comprehensive study of crime and Indians. The 's' word would be removed from state-owned sites under a bill the Montana House supported overwhelmingly Saturday.,1249,30011324,00.html? A flock of 450 rare churro sheep were used in a federal coyote predation study. [ Imagine the sheepdog and the coyote clocked in and out for each shift, just like in the cartoon... ?? ] "A Place in the Land" examines the history of conservation stewardship in America.