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Published On: Sat, Jun 1st, 2013

Fresno County woman succumbs to hantavirus, health officials say it was contracted out-of-state

A Fresno County, California woman has died from hantavirus, according to a Fresno Bee report Friday.

However, Fresno County health officials believe the woman contracted the deadly virus out-of-state. The woman likely came in contact with the virus while in Arizona and Utah, said David Luchini, assistant director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

hantavirus, Peromyscus maniculatus

Peromyscus maniculatus Image/CDC

“Based on the incubation period, we’re looking at exposure from outside the state,” Luchini said. The woman had been in state parks in the Sierra Nevada, but was already showing signs of illness at that time, he said.

Health officials say this is only the second case of hantavirus to be reported from the county since it was first recognized in the US in 1993.

The woman’s name has not been released due to patient confidentiality laws.

Hantavirus is a potentially life-threatening disease spread to humans by rodents that has symptoms similar to influenza.

Rodents, especially deer mice, carry Hantavirus. The virus is found in their urine and feces, but it does not make the animal sick.

It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings. You may come in contact with the dust when cleaning homes, sheds, or other enclosed areas that have been empty for a long time.

Hantavirus does not spread between humans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) divides the symptoms of hantavirus between “early” and “late” symptoms.

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, andabdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a “…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face” as the lungs fill with fluid.

HPS has a mortality rate of 38% according to the agency.

Hantavirus deaths have also been reported from Montana, Arizona and Oklahoma this year.

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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