how many cases of hantavirus in virginia

  • 4 min read
  • Feb 17, 2020

Hantavirus Disease, by State of Reporting | Hantavirus | DHCPP | CDC
Hantavirus Disease, by State of Reporting | Hantavirus | DHCPP | CDC

HPS disease is a rare but serious disease of the lungs caused by a family of viruses known as hantaviruses. HPS spread to humans by rodents. In 1993, the first case in the United States are diagnosed in the southwestern part of the country. While most of the cases are still being reported from the southwestern United States, isolated cases of HPS have been diagnosed in other parts of the country and some types of hantaviruses have been identified.

Who gets the HPS?

People who have exposure to wild rodents or infested with rats areas are at highest risk getting HPS. hantavirus carried by infected rodents, especially deer mice in the southwest, cotton and rice rats in the south, and white-footed mice in the coastal area northeast. Since 1995, 728 cases of HPS have been reported in the United States. The last time residents of Virginia reported to HPS was in 2004.

How HPS spreads?

The main way that HPS virus is spread to humans is by breathing air contaminated with rodent urine, feces or saliva. It can also be transmitted by touching the nose or mouth after handling contaminated material. There have been rare reports of rodent bites hantavirus transmission. There is no evidence that cats, dogs, farm animals, or insects transmit diseases to humans. You can not get HPS from others.

What are the symptoms of HPS?

The initial symptoms are similar to symptoms of influenza and include fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. Other common symptoms that may occur are headache, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Symptoms of HPS then cough and shortness of breath caused by fluid buildup in the lungs. These respiratory problems begin 4-10 days after the first symptoms and can progress to respiratory failure and sometimes death. In some cases of HPS, kidneys and other organs will stop working.

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?

Symptoms of HPS can be from one to eight weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.

How HPS diagnosed?

Diagnosing HPS in individuals who have been infected only a few days is difficult because early symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and fatigue easily confused with influenza. If the individual has a fever, fatigue, and shortness of breath and had a history of potential rural rodent exposure, it would be strongly suggestive of HPS. A person with these symptoms should see a doctor immediately and mention the potential exposure of rodents.

What is the treatment for HPS?

At this time, there is no specific treatment for HPS. HPS patients requiring hospitalization for intensive care, and often require intubation and ventilator to help them breathe.

How HPS prevented?

Keep your home clean to prevent rats. Washing dishes promptly, clean counters and floors, put pet food and water go in the evening, and store food and garbage in containers with tight-fitting lid. Prevent mice from entering your home by sealing all openings with caulking or steel wool. Remember, mice can enter through holes as small as a dime.

How can I get more information on the HPS?

October 2018

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