(CBS DETROIT) – Michigan health officials have confirmed the first human case of the Sin Nombre hantavirus in a Washtenaw County woman who was recently hospitalized.
Health officials say the woman was likely exposed when cleaning an unoccupied dwelling that contained signs of an active rodent infestation.READ MORE: Ascension St. John Children's Hospital, Wayne Pediatrics Join Forces To Strengthen Pediatric Services For Metro Detroit Families
Hantavirus infections are associated with domestic, occupational or recreational activities that bring humans into contact with infected rodents. Most cases have been identified in adults and tend to occur in the spring and summer, according to the health department.
“HPS is caused by some strains of hantavirus and is a rare but severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease that can occur one to five weeks after a person has exposure to fresh urine, droppings or saliva from infected rodents,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for the health department, said in an issued statement on Monday.
Humans become infected when freshly dried materials contaminated by rodent excreta are disturbed and inhaled, get into breaks in the skin or on mucous membranes or when ingesting contaminated food or water. Bites from rodents can also transmit hantavirus.READ MORE: Eastern Michigan Gets $1 Million Donation For Math, Automotive Programs From Jack Roush
The health department says the highest risk of exposure takes place when entering or cleaning rodent-infested structures. There are not any documented person-to-person cases of hantavirus transmission in the U.S.
Symptoms of HPS can be non-specific at first and include fever, chills, body aches, headache and gastro-intestinal signs such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The illness can progress to include coughing and shortness of breath. HPS has a 40 percent fatality rate.
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