Mom ‘Fighting For Her Life’ After Contracting Rare, Rodent-Carried Hantavirus

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In early January, 27-year-old Kiley Lane went to the hospital for what she thought was just the flu. A month later, the mother was hooked up to a machine and “fighting for her life” in the intensive care unit at the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) in Albuquerque.

At first, she was experiencing flu-like symptoms. She felt nauseous and had sharp stomach pains. Finally, her husband, Kevin, convinced her to get checked out.

The pair then went to a hospital in their hometown, Farmington, New Mexico, where doctors told Lane she had a “blockage.”

They gave her laxatives and sent her home, Lane’s mom, Julie Barron, told Fox News. Weeks later, on Feb. 1, she returned with shortness of breath.

At one point, they thought she may be faking it,” Barron said.

“She was getting sicker and sicker and nobody seemed to want to listen,” Barron said. “She didn’t test positive for pneumonia, the flu, hepatitis – nothing she tested for was coming back.”

Finally, one of Lane’s tests results came back positive for the Hantavirus.

The rare illness is usually spread through contact with infected deer mice or their droppings or urine.

Schools Urge Parents To Keep Sick Kids Home To Stop Flu From Spreading

While some children are more susceptible to the virus than others because of pre-existing conditions, the flu can be deadly for almost anyone.

The ones I’m reading about were your typically healthy kid who just got sick and all the sudden wasn’t with us anymore,” Jeannie Bisard, Chief Nurse for Lyon County School District said.

The school district sent out letters to its students’ parents this week, encouraging them to keep their kids home from school if they are sick or have symptoms of an illness.

We really want parents to understand that you have to keep your kids home if they’re not feeling well, if they’re coughing, if they’re running a fever, just so they’re not spreading their germs to all their friends,” Bisard said.

Bisard says that this is one of the worst flu seasons for children that she has seen during her 35-year career.

There are many other illnesses going around this season as well.

We are seeing a lot of kids coming in, runny noses, coughs, just feeling rotten,” Bisard said. “We’ve also had a lot of tummy bugs running around.”

The school district teaches its students the importance of hygiene, in order to prevent illnesses.

Sheri Weakly-Banks teaches Pre-K at Fernley Elementary School. She says that her students wash their hands at least three times a day.

“Every time we come in from recess, we do it before we go to lunch, and we use hand sanitizer in between,” Weakly-Banks said. “We really work with them if they sneeze or if I see them touching their nose, go get a tissue, go wash your hands because I always tell them ‘I like you but I don’t like your germs.’”

Weakly-Banks says that the new year is off to a good start, but there were a few weeks before the Christmas break where some of her students missed as many as two weeks of school due to an illness.

“My class hasn’t been hit too hard, but I’m hoping our washing our hands is part of that because we do it a lot,” Weakly-Banks said.

If children have symptoms, they are encouraged to stay home for at least 24 hours after the last episode. 

The school district also hopes the students and parents will work together when they are at home to wash their hands and disinfect surfaces.

“If the parents and the kids can work together, to keep reminding each other, it will be able to prevent a large amount of disease processes,” Bisard said.

The school district had a flu shot clinic for students and staff in September, shortly after the school term started.  While some did not get a flu shot, experts say that the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot either.

“Flu shots are available everywhere,” Bisard said. “So, we’re definitely encouraging everybody that hasn’t gotten a flu shot yet to go get it.”

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