Seoul Virus Hits Illinois Pet Rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 8, 2017 in Rat News | Subscribe

State Public Health officials are warning people who own or breed rats to watch out for the Seoul virus. Six people in Illinois and two in Wisconsin have been found to have the virus, caught from rats that were traced to two rat-breeding operations in Illinois. 

Rats don’t get sick from the Seoul virus, but they can spread it to people who sometimes show flu-like symptoms and in the worst cases, kidney failure and more rarely, death.

Beth Chan is a rat breeder in Champaign, who hasn’t been affected by the Seoul virus. She won’t be breeding her rats again until next fall, but when the time comes, she wants to test for the virus, if she can.

“I’m hoping that they’ll add it to the tests that I can do, just so I can add that to something that I can screen for. And it’s something that I even am considering just testing myself for, like seeing if I can go to my doctor and be tested for that myself.”

The Seoul virus can spread from rat to human, but not from person to person. The two Illinois ratteries where the Seoul virus was confirmed have stopped selling rats voluntarily.

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