CDC investigating multi-state outbreak associated with home-based, rat breeding facilities
Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today announced that one pet rat in a Pennsylvania home-based breeding facility has tested positive for the Seoul virus. The infected Pennsylvania rat was purchased from a Tennessee breeding facility with confirmed Seoul virus infections. The remaining rats in the Pennsylvania facility were humanely euthanized to prevent further spread of the disease.
No human infections of Seoul virus have been confirmed in Pennsylvania at this time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports there are currently 13 human infections nationwide from this outbreak.
“We are working very closely with the CDC to monitor any Seoul virus activity and prevent further exposure,” Secretary Murphy said. “If you have pet rats you feel could be infected, or if you or your loved ones have been in contact with pet rats and have any symptoms of Seoul virus, you should contact the department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH. While this virus is spread only through infected rats, the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians is our priority.”
A type of hantavirus, Seoul virus is found worldwide. It is carried and spread by rodents, specifically the brown or Norway rat. People can become infected with the virus after coming into contact with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.
Individuals infected with the Seoul virus often have relatively mild symptoms or none at all. Symptoms include:
· Back and abdominal pain;
· Blurred vision;
· Flushing of the face;
· Inflammation or redness of the eyes; and
In rare cases, infection can also lead to a type of acute renal disease called Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, or HFRS. The symptoms of HFRS might include low blood pressure, acute shock, and acute kidney failure. There is no effective treatment for Seoul virus infections.
For more information, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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