Navajo Department of Health
The Navajo Department of Health is committed to the health and well-being of the Navajo people. The Department has 14 seperate programs funded by various agencies. With headquarters in Window Rock, the Navajo Department of Health serves approximately 300,000 members of Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the United States. Covering an area of over 27,000 square miles, the Department of Health delivers a variety of health services in the areas of nutrition, aging, substance abuse, outreach, and emergency medical services, working in close partnership with state, federal, and local partners. Learn more by clicking on any of the Department’s programs to the right. Late-breaking information on health topics is given below, and updated regularly.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by infection with a hantavirus. Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk of HPS. Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus.
To date, no cases of HPS have shown human-to-human transmission.
Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a "...tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face" as the lungs fill with fluid.
If the individual is experiencing fever and fatigue and has a history of potential rural rodent exposure, together with shortness of breath, they should see their physician immediately and mention their potential rodent exposure.
There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection. However, we do know that if infected individuals are recognized early and receive medical care in an intensive care unit, they may do better.
Learn more about Hantavirus: http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/
National Park Service Rodent Exclusion Manual (PDF)
Hantavirus Risk Reduction Worker Protection (updated December 2013) (PDF)
Managing Rodents to Prevent Hantavirus Infection (PDF)
Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. No local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in US states, but there have been travel-associated cases. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. In the US Territories, local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and America Samoa. With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers returning to the United States will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States. As of March 30, 2016, there is one travel-associated case in Arizona, one travel-associated case in New Mexico, two travel-associated cases in Utah, and two travel-associated cases in Colorado. No cases are from Navajo Nation.