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‘Seoul virus’ can jump from pet rats to owners

(Reuters Health) – – People with pet rats ought to follow secure rodent dealing with and good hand hygiene to keep away from catching a virus that can jump from rats to people, infectious illness specialists warn.

Doctors within the U.S. and Canada have seen circumstances of Seoul virus an infection in people who contracted the virus from their pet rats, in accordance to a report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“In December 2016, a patient in Wisconsin was hospitalized for fever and a low white blood cell count and ultimately tested positive for Seoul virus. Soon after, a family member developed similar symptoms and also tested positive,” Dr. Janna Kerins of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Reuters Health in an e mail.

After confirming Seoul virus an infection within the Wisconsin sufferers, the CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services investigated the supply of the illness.

“The outbreak spread from sales or trade of infected pet rats between people’s homes or between ratteries” – locations the place rats are bred – “in 11 states,” mentioned Kerins, who coauthored the report.

Overall, researchers recognized 24 individuals within the U.S. and Canada who developed acute Seoul virus infections after contact with pet rats. Eight turned in poor health, and three have been hospitalized however recovered, mentioned Kerins.

Seoul virus is a sort of hantavirus present in Norway rats, one of the crucial widespread types of rats within the United States. The virus doesn’t trigger signs within the rats, although. And individuals with Seoul virus infections usually haven’t any or delicate signs, however “kidney failure or death can occur in rare cases,” mentioned Kerins.

“This is a good reminder that rats and other rodents can carry hantavirus without looking sick, so it is important for owners of pet rats to be aware of the risk for Seoul virus infection, and to practice good hand hygiene . . . such as washing hands after handling rodents and before preparing food, and by avoiding rat bites and scratches,” Kerins mentioned.

Healthcare suppliers ought to take into account Seoul virus an infection in sufferers with suitable signs and rat contact, wrote the authors.

In addition, physicians and different medical suppliers ought to contact their state or native well being division once they suspect a affected person has a Seoul virus an infection.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2nPjV7s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, on-line February 2, 2018.

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