A very strange rat virus has recently affected people in Wisconsin and Illinois. Eight people were infected by this terrible virus. Based on the data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these people were working in facilities responsible for breeding pet rats. Authorities were announced when two employees from a rat-breeding facility got sick back in December 2016. One of them was hospitalized.
After doctors have conducted several tests, they revealed that both individuals obtained positive outcomes when tested for Seoul virus. This terrible disease is part of the Hantavirus family which represents a group of viruses that usually affect rodents. Thus, health officials have figured out that those two employees had purchased pet rats from two different breeding facilities in Illinois.
Tests have proved that six other individuals who worked in those Illinois facilities had also got infected with this rare virus. The Seoul virus is known only for affecting a particular species of a rat called the Norway rat or the brown rat. Sometimes, it is possible for people to contract this virus from mice. Nevertheless, this type of cases was only registered to occur in Asia.
Health officials claimed that this is the first time when this virus has affected humans in the United States. Humans can contract the virus if they are bitten by infected rats or if they come into contact with infected rats’ urine, saliva or blood. Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, has stated that luckily this virus cannot be spread from human to human. Thus, the population is at very low risk of contracting the Seoul virus.
Dr. Shah wanted to make sure the inhabitants in the area know about this situation and that they were informed that there is no risk of contracting the rat virus from other persons. If someone has purchased a pet rat from such a breeding facility, they need to be extremely careful. The CDC has started an investigation, and it’s currently working on determining if anyone else has also bought such rats. The health officials want to make sure that infected mice are no longer distributed from those Illinois facilities.
The symptoms of this virus listed by specialists include rash, severe headaches, red eyes, blurred vision, chills, abdominal pain, back pain, and fever.
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