Hantavirus contracted in Adirondacks

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According to Albany’s WTEN, health officials are investigating a case of the potentially deadly Hantavirus. A Long Island man was camping in the High Peaks region of Adirondack in August and bitten in the finger by a mouse.

Doctors treating Michael Vaughan, 72, of Stony Brook said preliminary tests indicated he contracted Hantavirus, a viral illness. In September Vaughan became ill and spent four days in intensive care. Samples have since been sent to state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for confirmation. Results are expected next week.

Hantavirus has been a hot top when nine visitors at Yosemite National Park this summer were infected by Hantavirus. Three later died.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Hantavirus is an infectious disease characterized by flu-like symptoms that can progress rapidly to potentially life-threatening breathing problems. Hantavirus is carried by several types of rodents, particularly the deer mouse. An individual can contract Hantavirus primarily by breathing air infected with Hantaviruses that are shed in rodent urine and droppings.

There are two stages of Hantavirus and below are the symptoms of Hantavirus:

In the first stage, you may experience flu-like signs and symptoms that may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain

After three to seven days, more-serious signs and symptoms begin. They typically include:

  • A cough that produces secretions
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid accumulating within the lungs
  • Low blood pressure
  • Reduced heart efficiency

The signs and symptoms of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can worsen suddenly and may quickly become life-threatening. If you've been around rodents or rodent droppings and have signs and symptoms of fever, chills, muscle aches or any difficulties breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

What causes Hantavirus?

Inhalation is the main route of transmission for Hantavirus through the "aerosolization" of viruses shed in infected rodents' droppings, urine or saliva. Aerosolization occurs when a virus is kicked up into the air, making it easy for you to inhale. For example, a broom used to clean up mouse droppings in an attic may nudge into the air tiny particles of feces containing Hantaviruses, which you can then easily inhale. After you inhale Hantaviruses, they reach your lungs and begin to invade tiny blood vessels called capillaries, eventually causing them to leak. Your lungs then flood with fluid which can trigger any of the respiratory problems associated with Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

How to prevent Hantavirus?

Pest Proofing is very important, since mice only need ¼ of an inch gap to squeeze their tiny bodies through compared to a rat that needs ½ inch gap. Make sure food is safely store away; food (especially pet food) is not left out and make sure garbage cans are tightly sealed. Look around your structure for conducive conditions favoring rodents like over grown trees/shrubs, brush, grass and other unneeded belongings they can use as nesting material. Lastly, contact your local exterminator who can inspect your home looking for ways rodents can get inside, make recommendations and offer a rodent solution around your needed. Think again when cleaning areas where rodents have traveled. Rodents leave urine trails behind wherever they go along with their droppings. Our technicians take more precautions then the average homeowner with their respirators, heppa filter vacuums and sanitation material to safely remove these toxins from your home. Ask us about rodent removal and rodent clean up.

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 Chatham, East Greenbush, Altamont, Schenectady, Latham, Clifton Park, Edinburgh, Saratoga, Gansevoort and surrounding areas.


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