Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

CDC reports first confirmed case of hantavirus this year

RODENTS:The virus is not caused by human-to-human transmission, but by exposure to the urine or droppings of infected mice, a CDC official said

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

This year’s first confirmed case of hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), which is mainly caused by contact with hantavirus-infected rodents, has been reported, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

A 62-year-old man living in the south developed symptoms, including fever and dizziness, early this month and subsequently experienced headaches, rashes, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pains and had low, dark-colored urine before seeking medical attention and being hospitalized.

He was later diagnosed with damaged hepatic and renal functions, fluid overload and shortness of breath, and was confirmed as having the hantavirus infection, the CDC said.

The man has since recovered after treatment and been discharged, the agency said, adding that the eight people living or working with him have not displayed symptoms associated with the virus.

Local health authorities collected mice from the patient’s work and living environments for testing and have also carried out rodent-control measures in the area to curb further infections, the CDC said.

HFRS is caused by infection with hantaviruses, which are mainly carried by rodents, especially commonly seen mice, the agency said.

“The hantavirus cannot be transferred from one person to another. People get infected with the virus by being exposed to the urine or droppings of virus-carrying mice. HFRS is the result if the virus-carrying droplets are inhaled,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.

“A total of 12 cases of confirmed HFRS have been reported from 2001 to last year, none of which were fatal, but the virus can make people fairly uncomfortable,” he said, adding that hantavirus infection can cause fever, headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, hemorrhages and kidney damage.

According to the results of the CDC’s 2010 research project on rodent-borne communicable diseases in the five special municipalities, people living near or working in night markets and wet markets are a high risk group for hantavirus infection.

Chou said people should make sure that there is no food for mice to eat and no place for them to stay.

Mice droppings or urine should be sprayed with bleach or alcohol and be disposed of 30 minutes later, he added.

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