Update: CDC Investigating Seoul Virus Outbreak from Rats in 12 States

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 30, 2017 in Rat News | Subscribe

Earlier this week, we reported that the CDC was working with the Illinois Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to investigate 8 reported cases of Seoul virus infections of people who worked at several rat-breeding facilities in the two states.
Now, the outbreak has spread to 10 more states, totaling 12 infected states.
The list of potentially infected rodents that may have been distributed or received has expanded to Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.
This outbreak of the Seoul virus is the first associated with pet rats in the United States, although there have been several outbreaks in wild rats.
It started when a home-based rodent breeder located in Wisconsin needed to be hospitalized in December 2016 with fever, headache, and other symptoms related to the virus. A blood test conducted by the CDC confirmed the patient contracted the virus.
CDC currently recommends blood testing for all people who report recent or current illness after:

  • handling rats from a facility with laboratory-confirmed Seoul virus infection in either humans or rats, or
  • handling rats from a facility that sold rats to a facility with Seoul virus infection.

The CDC encourages all pet owners and people who come in contact with rodents to practice healthy habits – handwashing, avoiding bites and scratches, providing routine veterinary care.

About the Seoul Virus

Seoul virus is a species of hantavirus that can cause a form of hemorrhagic fever. It is carried by rats. Symptoms may include fever, severe headache, back and abdominal pain, chills, blurred vision, redness of the eyes, or rash. In rare cases, infection can also lead to acute renal disease

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