This young mother thought she had the flu, but it turned out to be a fatal rodent-borne illness

Kiley Lane died after contracting Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Image via Facebook.

A 27-year old mother from Aztec, New Mexico has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease known as hantavirus.

In January, Kiley Lane visited San Juan Regional Medical Center after experiencing severe nausea and abdominal pain. Doctors diagnosed Lane with the flu, and prescribed laxatives to help ease her discomfort. The next day, Lane’s symptoms began to worsen and she was immediately admitted to hospital where she remained for several days.

Lane’s mother, Julie Barron, visited her daughter on Feb. 1, after she was sent home from the hospital. Lane was struggling to breathe, and was unable to walk on her own. Lane’s husband, Kevin, insisted she go to hospital straight away.

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“Our family doesn’t really go to the doctor a lot. But in this particular case, her husband just had the gut instinct that they didn’t need to wait around, and he took her into the ER,” Barron told People magazine. 

Doctors immediately hooked Lane up to a ventilator and began running tests. On Feb. 5, they diagnosed Lane with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a respiratory illness transmitted through airborne particles from rodent droppings, urine and saliva.

The Centre for Disease Control notes that early symptoms of HPS include fever and muscle aches, especially in the thighs, hips, back and shoulders and general fatigue. Like Lane, approximately half of all patients will experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhea. Four to 10 days after the initial illness appears, patients experience coughing, shortness of breath and lungs fill with fluid.

Kiley Lane leaves behind her husband, Kevin, and their two-year-old daughter. Image via Facebook.

Lane, the mother of a two-year old daughter, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment. She was immediately admitted to intensive care and put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), otherwise known extracorporeal life support to assist her failing heart and lungs.

After more than a month in intensive care, the CDC tested Lane for HPS and confirmed that the disease had left her system. However, the damage was too great to Lane’s body and her kidneys began failing.

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With a mortality rate of 38 per cent, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a serious life-threatening disease. In the past 25 years, hantavirus has been reported in 36 states. Almost 15 per cent (109) of all cases have come from Lane’s home state of New Mexico. Colorado (104), Arizona (78) California (61) and Washington (50) round out the list of the states with the highest number of reported hantavirus cases.

In Canada, a majority of the 109 confirmed cases of HPS have occurred in the western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Each year, anywhere from zero to 13 new cases of HPS are reported.

On April 18, after multiple complications and infections, Lane’s family made the difficult decision to disconnect the machine.

At this time, Lane’s official cause of death has not been released.

A YouCaring page has been set up by a Lane family friend to assist the family with expenses.

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