The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the year’s first case of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) caused by hantavirus and urged the public to avoid exposure to rodents, which are carriers of the virus.
“The 63-year-old pig farmer from Kaohsiung has been discharged from hospital following treatment,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.
“Although the infection was likely caused by rodent bites, further laboratory tests are needed for confirmation,” he said.
The patient began displaying symptoms of fever, vomiting, stomach pain, muscle soreness and shortage of breath on June 18, one month after being bitten on the toes by a rodent, a press statement released by the CDC said.
Blood test results obtained on Wednesday confirmed that the man was infected with hantavirus, which caused HFRS, it said.
With a hantavirus mortality rate as high as 10 percent, Chou urged those active in areas where rodents are present to take extra precautions to protect themselves from the disease.
Previous studies have concluded that individuals working in wet markets tend to be in the high-risk group, he added.
People usually get infected through exposure to the urine and droppings of infected rodents or after exposure to dust, which can also carry the virus. Human-to-human transmission is rare.
There were 11 reported cases of HFRS caused by hantavirus between 2001 and last year, according to CDC statistics.