Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Kaohsiung dismisses hanta rumors

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Online rumors about hantavirus infections transmitted between humans are misleading, the Kaohsiung City Government Department of Health said, calling on the public to stop spreading incorrect information and properly prevent the spread of the disease by keeping living areas free of rats.

Following three cases of hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) being reported in Kaohsiung’s Lingya District (苓雅) this year, the department said that there have been online rumors that an infection control worker caught the disease while performing their duties and that someone died from a hantavirus infection.

The department said the rumors are incorrect and people should stop passing them on to avoid causing panic or breaking the law.

It said that all three of the people who were confirmed to have the disease in Kaohsiung have been cured, so no one has died and that HFRS is caused by hantaviruses, which are carried and transmitted by rodents.

People can become infected with hantaviruses and develop HFRS after exposure to urine, droppings or saliva of infected rodents, but transmission from one human to another is extremely rare, the department said.

The incubation period of hantavirus infections is about five to 42 days, and common symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, lower backache, nausea, vomiting, bleeding and kidney damage, it said.

The department said that spreading false information concerning epidemics can harm the public and people who spread such misinformation may face a fine of up to NT$500,000 according to the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).

It said that effective prevention measures against the virus include keeping places free of rats, especially restaurants, markets or food manufacturing factories.

If rodent droppings are encountered, the department recommends that people spray them with alcohol or a mixture of household bleach and water — 10 liters of tap water to 10ml of bleach — wait for 30 minutes, then clean them up while wearing a facial mask and rubber gloves.

This story has been viewed 1877 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top