Southwest Rodent Boom to Cause Deadly Hantavirus Outbreak?

Heavy rains that drenched parts of the southwestern U.S. last winter and spring will likely drive an outbreak of deadly Hantavirus in 2006, according to a biologist who studies rodents that carry the disease.

Hantavirus causes bleeding, kidney failure, and lung infections. People catch the disease after they inhale infected particles of dried rodent dung and urine. About 36 percent of all reported human cases are fatal.