Hantavirus comes in a number of different strains. As of this time, the strain of hantavirus found in the United States has been identified by medical experts as the Sin Nombre virus. There are different strains of hantavirus found in different locations around the globe. The Sin Nombre virus is found in North, Central, and South America.
The hantavirus was first identified in the United States in 1993. During the first decade after its discovery in the U.S., hantavirus-infected over 600 people, of which about 200 died. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the mortality rate of the hantavirus is over 30 percent. More information on the hantavirus fatality rate is discussed in this article.
Transmission of Hantavirus
The strain of hantavirus found in the United States is transmitted primarily through rodent feces, including mouse and rat dropping and urine. Dried mouse and rat droppings are particularly dangerous when it comes to the spread of hantavirus.
In many cases, the hantavirus is spread by individuals with good intentions. These are people who discover rat droppings in their home or business. They elect to embark on mouse or rat droppings cleanup by sweeping them up and away. The shocking reality is that this can be a very dangerous thing to do when it comes to mouse and rat droppings.
When mouse and rat droppings dry out, they become highly brittle. They crumble upon touch. At the point mouse and rat droppings crumble, dust is released into the air. The dust is breathed in by an individual involved in mouse and rat droppings cleanup.
The hantavirus remains alive when mouse and rat droppings dry out. Thus, when mouse and rat droppings become airborne, so does hantavirus. A person not only breathes in mouse and rat droppings dust but hantavirus as well.
The strain of hantavirus attacks the lungs. Thus, by breathing in contaminated droppings dust, a person can be infecting his or her self with hantavirus.
Not only is hantavirus found in mouse and rat droppings, but the virus is also found in rodent urine as well. When rodent urine dries, it also is subject to converting to a dusty substance. The dust can become airborne and breathed in by humans. This can occur when a person attempts to sweep or clean up the remains of rodent urine.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
In the United States, the actual disease caused by hantavirus that can prove fatal in about three out of 10 cases are called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a type of hemorrhagic disease. Being a hemorrhagic disease, when infection by hantavirus leads to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, profuse bleeding occurs.
In the case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, the virus attacks the capillaries in the lungs. When this occurs, the capillaries burst to cause blood to flow into the lungs. If this doesn’t abate, the lungs fill with blood and other fluids, ultimately resulting in the death of a person infected b hantavirus.
Treatment of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
The reason such a high percentage of people die following a hantavirus infection and the onset of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is that there is no antiviral treatment for the disease. The bottom line is that recovering from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is something akin to rolling dice.
Spontaneous recovery is possible through supportive treatment. The sooner medical intervention occurs, the better the odds that a person will spontaneously recover from the syndrome.
A person with suspected hantavirus pulmonary syndrome needs to be admitted to a hospital immediately. A patient is placed in the ICU and provided mechanical ventilation. This permits a person to breathe during the acute phase of the syndrome.
In addition to being placed on a ventilator. Researchers are looking at also administering human neutralizing antibodies during the acute phase of the syndrome. As of yet, there have been no clinical trials in regard to this course of action.
Avoid Mouse and Rat Droppings
The serious nature of hantavirus infection, coupled with the lack of a specific treatment protocol, results in a high fatality rate for infected individuals. For these reasons, avoiding contact with mouse and rat droppings and urine represents the truly best course to take to protect a person’s health and welfare. If a person encounters a rodent infestation, and associated feces and urine, at a home or business, seeking a professional mouse rat and droppings cleanup specialist are advisable.
A professional mouse and rat droppings cleanup specialist has the background, equipment, and tools necessary to safely and completely eliminate the presence of these potentially harmful substances.