The 9-year-old boy from New Mexico dies after suffering a fatal RAT disease that makes him a life-long prisoner

The 9-year-old boy from New Mexico dies after suffering a fatal RAT disease that makes him a life-long prisoner

A nine-year-old boy from New Mexico died nine months after his rare and deadly rat disease.

Bloomfield's Fernando Hernandez had flu-like symptoms in January, including fever, vomiting, and lethargy.

After he had difficulty breathing, he was hospitalized. After weeks of testing, he was diagnosed with hantavirus, a disease that spread through rodents paralyzing the organs.

While waiting for a heart-lung transplant, Fernando suffered a brain hemorrhage that made him brain dead. His parents made the heartbreaking decision to take him out of life.

Fernando Hernandez, nine (pictured), from Bloomfield, New Mexico, died after a long struggle with hantavirus, a rare and deadly rat disease that paralyzes the organs

Fernando Hernandez, nine (pictured), from Bloomfield, New Mexico, died after a long struggle with hantavirus, a rare and deadly rat disease that paralyzes the organs

Fernando Hernandez, nine (pictured), from Bloomfield, New Mexico, died after a long struggle with hantavirus, a rare and deadly rat disease that paralyzes the organs

The boy had flu-like symptoms in January. After Fernando (pictured) had spent unclear tests at the hospital twice and for weeks, he was correctly diagnosed

The boy had flu-like symptoms in January. After Fernando (pictured) had spent unclear tests at the hospital twice and for weeks, he was correctly diagnosed

The boy had flu-like symptoms in January. After Fernando (pictured) had spent unclear tests at the hospital twice and for weeks, he was correctly diagnosed

Fernando started vomiting around the end of January, but his parents, George Fernandez and Anna Granados, told the Farmington Daily Times that they assumed he was ill with the flu.

When his symptoms did not improve, he was taken to the San Juan Regional Medical Center, where he spent 10 days.

Despite an x-ray showing spots on his lungs, no tests were conclusive and were sent home with antibiotics.

WHAT IS HANTAVIRUS?

Hantavirus occurs in wild rodents such as mice and rats.

People can become infected with the virus by coming into contact with infected rodent excrement, urine, saliva and nesting material.

The diagnosis can be difficult as early symptoms often resemble other, more common viruses such as the flu.

The virus can lead to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a disease that infects the heart, lungs and other organs by weakening and releasing blood vessels.

The body tries to fight the virus by causing inflammation, which – together with the organ infection – leads to severe damage throughout the body.

In the lungs, leaking blood vessels cause flooding in the air sacs, making it difficult for patients to breathe.

When the virus infects the heart, the damage reduces the ability of the organ to circulate blood throughout the body. This leads to critical low blood pressure and oxygen deficiency throughout the body, which can quickly lead to organ failure and death.

As of January 2017, a total of 728 cases were reported in only 36 US states.

The virus is deadly in 36 percent of cases.

Source: CDC

Only a few days later, however, the boy tried to breathe on his own. His parents rushed him to the emergency room, where he was taken to Colorado Children's Hospital in Aurora.

The doctors still could not figure out what was wrong, but when Fernanda's heart began to fail, he had to undergo numerous surgeries before being connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

The machine pumps and oxidizes a patient's blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.

Finally, Fernando was diagnosed with Hantavirus at the end of February.

The rare virus is caused by contact with infected rodent excrement, urine, saliva, nesting material or inhaling particles.

About two months before Fernando's diagnosis, his father asked him to clean the garden, and he wondered if that was the cause.

"Farmington is a farming community and they tell us it's in the ground," George Hernandez told Fox News in March.

"Two months ago, my son helped me clean the garden, I just hope it was not."

The diagnosis can be difficult as early symptoms often resemble other, more common viruses such as the flu.

The virus can cause blood to enter the lungs, make it harder to breathe, and weaken the blood vessels, so that blood and oxygen can not circulate throughout the body.

The infection can lead to pulmonary hantavirus syndrome, which can lead to respiratory arrest and death.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 728 cases were reported in the US in January 2017.

The agency adds that only 36 states have reported cases, the overwhelming majority in the states west of the Mississippi.

Fernando's parents told the Daily Times that their son had been at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, where he worked to become strong enough for a heart-lung transplant.

On October 26, however, he suffered a brain hemorrhage that made him brain dead. The family made the painful decision to take him from life support.

"We really thought he would do it," George Hernandez told the newspaper.

While waiting for a heart-lung transplant, Fernando (pictured) suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in October, which made him brain dead

While waiting for a heart-lung transplant, Fernando (pictured) suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in October, which made him brain dead

His parents made the heartbreaking decision to take him away from life support. Pictured: Fernando in the hospital

His parents made the heartbreaking decision to take him away from life support. Pictured: Fernando in the hospital

While waiting for a heart-lung transplant, Fernando (left and right) suffered a brain hemorrhage in October that brainwashed him. His parents made the heartbreaking decision to take him away from life support

Hantavirus is caused by contact with infected rodent, urine, saliva, nesting material or inhaling particles (image of file).

Hantavirus is caused by contact with infected rodent, urine, saliva, nesting material or inhaling particles (image of file).

Hantavirus is caused by contact with infected rodent, urine, saliva, nesting material or inhaling particles (image of file).

A GoFundMe site has been set up to cover the cost of Fernando's funeral. To date, more than $ 4,500 has been raised from a target of $ 15,000.

"Fernando had the hope and the dream of one day leaving the hospital and returning to his normal life … to school, friends, family, etc."

"Unfortunately, fate has taken a different path … I can tell you that the last few weeks have not been so great for him … he was in constant pain, but kept on."

Hernandez is the second resident of New Mexico who died of hantavirus this year.

In February, 27-year-old Kiley Lane was diagnosed with the disease and was living for more than two months.

The Daily Times reports she died at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque on April 18.

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