Just as Michigan is getting a handle on the coronavirus, here comes a new interesting virus into the mix.

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According to WXYZ in Detroit, the Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the that the state has its first confirmed human case of Sin Nombre hantavirus .The case is reportedly a Washtenaw County woman who was recently hospitalized with a serious pulmonary illness from the virus.

This particular infection spreads when humans come into contact with infected rodents or breathe in air contaminated with the virus. MDHHS believes she was most likely exposed when she was cleaning an unoccupied dwelling that contained signs of an active rodent infestation.

Chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. Joneigh Khaldun, told WXYZ,

"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."

The hantavirus is not necessarily new to the country. It was discovered in the southwest portion of the U.S. in 1993. It was said to be responsible for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in ill patients in those locations. This is the first confirmed case in Michigan.

With HPS, symptoms can include fever, chills, body aches, headache and gastro-intestinal signs such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The illness can also move to include coughing and shortness of breath. HPS has a 40% fatality rate.

“Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk for HPS and healthcare providers with a suspect case of hantavirus should contact their local health department to report the case and discuss options for confirmatory testing", Khaldun said.

 

Dr. Juan Luis Marquez, who is the medical director with Washtenaw County Health Department, states taking precautions when cleaning areas that have possible rodent infestations is key in stopping risk of becoming infected.

“Use rubber, latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves when cleaning areas with rodent infestations, ventilate areas for at least 30 minutes before working, and make sure to wet areas thoroughly with a disinfectant or chlorine solution before cleaning.”

 

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