21 Sep

Hantavirus

Recently there was an outbreak of the Hantavirus in Yosemite national park that has taken the life of three visitors and infected nine others.  The hantavirus is a negative sense RNA virus that is carried by rodents.  This disease does not affect the rodent itself and it is not transmitted from human to human.  Humans can contract the virus after contact with dust that has been in contact with the feces and urine of rodents.  There is an increased probability that campers and hikers will contract the virus because they place their tents on the forest floor and lay their sleeping bags on the floor of cabins with rodent waste.  At first the hantavirus causes chills fevers and muscle aches.  The disease gets worse quickly and can lead to dry cough, headache and shortness of breath.  Blood tests, complete blood count, and metabolic panel are some of the tests performed to confirm an infection.