Worker Who Died Before Belmont Stakes Didn’t Have Hantavirus, DOH Says

What to Know

  • A Belmont Park worker who died three days before the Belmont Stakes most likely died of bacterial sepsis, officials said
  • Officials thought the woman might have had hantavirus, but a test came back negative
  • Hantavirus is a rare disease that is caused by ingesting rat urine

A Belmont Park worker who passed away three days before the Belmont Stakes most likely died of bacterial sepsis — not the hantavirus officials suspected. 

The worker, whose name has not been released, was discovered unconscious outside her home on the Belmont Park backstretch on June 1 and passed away five days later, the New York State Department of Health said.

Officials thought the woman may have contracted hantavirus — a rare disease caused by ingesting rat urine — but a test sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came back negative, the Health Department said.

The results indicated that the woman most likely died of bacterial sepsis, which occurs when an infectious agent spreads throughout a person’s body, the Health Department noted.

The condition isn’t transmitted from human to human, so park visitors aren’t at risk, it added.

Nevertheless, the New York Racing Association “has relocated employees who were living in substandard housing and agreed to immediately overhaul its pest control management practices, including more rigorous building maintenance to limit routes of entry, an improved strategy for waste management, better overall monitoring and improved rodent trapping and control practices,” the Health Department said.

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