Hantavirus, a disease spread by rodents.◀ Back To Blog
August 30, 2012
Yosemite National Park – a favorite among families looking to rough it in one of the nation's most majestic settings – have become the scene of a public health crisis after two visitors died from a rodent-borne disease following overnight stays, according to the Huffington Post. These four people contracted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome after spending time in one of the 91 "Signature Tent Cabins" at Curry Village around the same time in June.
Hantavirus is spread by contact with rodent feces, urine and saliva, or by inhaling exposed airborne particles. If a rodent with the virus bites someone, the virus may be spread to that person, but this type of transmission is rare. Researchers believe that people may be able to get the virus if they touch something that has been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva, and then touch their nose or mouth. Lastly, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, researchers also suspect people can become sick if they eat food contaminated by urine, droppings, or saliva from an infected rodent.
Signs and Symptoms of Hantavirus:
- Symptoms may develop between 1 and 5 weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.
- Fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders.
- There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.
- Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear.
- Coughing and shortness of breath.
Is the Hantavirus Fatal?
- Yes. HPS can be fatal. It has a mortality rate of 38%.
How to Prevent Hantavirus:
- Eliminate or minimize contact with rodents in your home, workplace, or campsite.
- Seal up holes and gaps in your home or garage.
- Have a regular rodent pest management program in place to decrease rodent infestations.
- Clean up any easy-to-get food.
The National Park Service currently has assigned two epidemiologists to work in the park trapping rodents for testing. "Rodents and mice are native to the park, but we are looking at the populations and working with our wildlife biologists to determine if the population is too high," Gediman said. "There are rodents here, and we could never trap them all so that's not going to mitigate it."
The New York hantavirus, hosted by the white-footed mouse, is associated with HPS cases in the northeastern US, according to the CDC. The best way to reduce your risk against being exposed to hantavirus, it contacting a pest control company at the first signs of rodents. Even cleaning in and around your own home can put you at risk if rodents have made it their home too. Thomas Pest Services offers rodent services, rodent removal and services to seal out rodents. Rodents and Hantavirus are a serious threat and should be left to a professional. Thomas Pest Services offers free inspections to Columbia, Albany, Fulton, Schenectady, Renneselear, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.