Evidence of Hantavirus infection

We can help to eliminate the risks of this very dangerous health problem in your loft or disused areas where rodents have made their home in the past.

Remember the pathogens related to this infection can still be active a long time after the rodents have been eliminated.

Evidence of Hantavirus infection has been found in UK commensal rodents.

Transmission of the virus between rodents and to humans occurs through inhalation of dust infected with rodent excreta and urine, or a rodent bite. Once infected the rodent will secrete infectious virus for prolonged periods, probably for life.

Those working with wood piles and or cleaning abandoned buildings can be at a risk of contracting hantavirus.

It is reported that rats carrying the disease have arrived in Yorkshire and The Humber on trade ships from Asia. Scientists have confirmed that a man in North Yorkshire was diagnosed with the disease and suffered severe kidney problems, though has since recovered.

Early symptoms are similar to flu and include chills, fever and muscle aches and can take up to five weeks to develop after exposure. People with hantavirus may begin to feel better for a very short amount of time, but within 1-2 days, symptoms can once again reappear with a dry cough, headache, nausea and shortness of breath. Complications of hantavirus can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure and heart and lung failure.

Hantavirus lung infection is caused by Sin Nombre virus which belongs to the family hantavirus. This virus is transmitted to humans from urine, saliva and droppings of contaminated rodents. It can spread by inhalation or direct contact. The infection cannot be transmitted from human to human. This virus affects the lung tissues and damages the tiny capillaries in them resulting in leakage of blood into lung tissues.

Preventive measures like maintaining cleanliness in homes, avoiding rodent dens and avoiding camping in areas of rodent droppings may help in keeping this serious infection at bay. Vaccination for hantavirus infection is not available at present.

Hantavirus: Complications

Hantavirus infection, if not detected and managed in the early stages, may lead to multiple organ failure including lungs, kidneys and heart. This may prove to be fatal, resulting in death.

Leptospira spp, which cause Leptospirosis (a.k.a. Weil’s disease) are carried by 14% of rats and 80% of mice.

Salmonella spp can survive in rat faeces for up to 86 days

E. coli has been recovered from rodent faeces for over a 36 week period.