Michigan reports its first human hantavirus case: Woman contracted deadly respiratory disease while cleaning abandoned house full of rodents
- Michigan health officials on Monday confirmed the state’s first case of hantavirus, saying a woman had been hospitalized with the respiratory virus.
- They said she was likely exposed cleaning a vacant home that shows signs of an active rodent infestation.
- Hantavirus can be transmitted to humans from infected rodents when they breathe air contaminated with feces, touch or bite an infected rodent
- The Centers for Disease Control said it may also be possible to get it from food contaminated with rodent feces
- It cannot be spread from person to person and has a mortality rate of 38 percent
Michigan has confirmed its first case of hantavirus, a potentially deadly respiratory disease spread through contact with infected rodents.
Michigan health officials reported on Monday that a woman from Washtenaw County was “recently hospitalized with severe lung disease from Sin Nombre hantavirus,” which was “probably exposed cleaning a vacant home that shows signs of an active rodent infestation.”
As of January 2017, only 728 cases of the hantavirus have been reported in the United States since health officials began monitoring it in 1993, according to the Disease Control Centers.
New Mexico reported the most cases, with 109, followed by Colorado with 104; Arizona, with 78; California, with 61; and Texas, with 45.
DailyMail.com has contacted the Department of Health for more information about the patient’s condition.
dr. Michigan medical director Joneigh Khaldun announced Monday that a woman from Washtenaw County was the first in the state to contract the hanta virus
Hantavirus is spread through contact with mice, such as the house mouse you see here
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is most commonly passed to people when they breathe air contaminated with the virus through rodent feces, a rodent bite, or when people touch something contaminated with rodent urine, saliva, or feces before touching their skin, mouth, or nose.
It may also be possible to contract the virus by eating food contaminated with feces, urine or saliva from an infected rodent, according to the Centers for disease control.
“Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk for HPS,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, medical director and deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The most common hantavirus in the United States is Sin Nombre hantavirus, which the Michigan woman was confirmed to have.
It is spread through deer and white-footed mice and cannot be passed from person to person and has a mortality rate of 38 percent.
Symptoms of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can appear one to eight weeks after exposure and include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches, as well as headache, dizziness, chills, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
A microscopic view of the hantavirus virions responsible for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
Many of those symptoms are similar to those for COVID-19, and Khaldun said health care providers with a suspected case of hantavirus should contact their local health department to report it and discuss options for testing.
It is sensitive to most disinfectants and typically survives for less than a week in indoor environments and only a few hours in outdoor environments exposed to sunlight.
“We can prevent and reduce the risk of hantavirus infection by taking precautions and being alert to the possibility of it,” said Dr. Juan Luis Marquez, medical director at the Washtenaw County Health Department.
He recommended that people “use rubber, latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves when cleaning areas with rodent infestations, ventilate areas for at least 30 minutes before working, and ensure areas are thoroughly moistened with disinfectant or chlorine solution.” before they are cleaned.’