Taipei County resident contracted hantavirus


Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 4

A Taipei County teacher who sought treatment for a fever at National Taiwan University Hospital earlier this month has been confirmed to have contracted the hantavirus, Center for Disease Control Director Su Yi-jen (蘇益仁) said yesterday.

The teacher, only identified by her surname, Lee, has recovered from the rodent-borne disease.

Su said that there was no reason for the public to panic over the hantavirus, as it is only spread by rodent feces and can only be contracted by the inhalation of contaminated dust.

The hospital reported the teacher as a case of hantavirus infection on May 9, after she complained that she had a fever, headache, dizziness, stomachache and blurred eyesight. A blood test showed a positive reaction to the virus, according to the results released on Monday.

The center has ordered Taipei City's Bureau of Health to conduct a second round of blood tests on the teacher and her family to facilitate the bureau's supervision of the disease.

Local health authorities caught two rats near the teacher's residence and are conducting tests to determine if the pair carry the hantavirus and if so, if it was identical to that strain contracted by the teacher. An investigation determined that no one else in the neighborhood had been infected.

Authorities said that no one at Hwa Hsia College of Technology and Commerce, where the woman teaches, has been affected either.

To prevent the spread of hantavirus, health officials have urged the public to adopt measures to eradicate rats and mice.