A Michigan woman was hospitalized after contracting a deadly rare virus associated with rodent excrement.
Health officials announced the state’s first case of Sin Nombre hantavirus on Monday, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The disease can be transmitted to people who are in close contact with rodent drip, urine and saliva, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has only reported 21 cases of hantavirus in the US from 1993 to 2018, last year statistics were made available on its website.
The disease kills about 40 percent of the people who catch it and can cause “cough and shortness of breath with the feeling of, as one survivor put it, a”
More manageable symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, according to the CDC, rarely transmitted from person to person, officials said.
The unidentified Michigan patient is believed to have caught the virus while clearing a vacant home with signs of an active rodent attack, health officials said.
“We believe that the person was exposed to cleaning the home. Fecal matter … from the attacks was likely airborne during cleaning and was inhaled by the individual, ”Washtenaw County Health Department spokeswoman Susan Ringler-Cerniglia told the newspaper.
“This infection is still considered very rare and can be avoided, even with significant infestations, with precautions when cleaning.”
The patient was reportedly discharged from the hospital after treatment for hantavirus lung syndrome.
“Anyone who comes in contact with rodents carrying hantavirus is at risk for HPS and healthcare providers with a suspected case of hantavirus should contact their local health department to report the matter and discuss options for confirmatory testing,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical director at the Michigan Department of Health, reportedly said.
The best way to avoid the disease is to take safety precautions when cleaning up after rodent attacks, officials said. “If your pet finds or kills a rodent, neither dogs nor cats can transmit hantavirus to humans,” Ringler-Cerniglia reportedly said.
“If this happens, be sure to dispose of the rodent with gloves or a plastic bag and clean any affected area.”