CDC: First US Case of Rat-Borne Andes Virus Diagnosed

New World hantavirus can present with symptoms similar to those of the flu.
New World hantavirus can present with symptoms similar to those of the flu.

HealthDay News — The first confirmed US case of a virus carried by South American rodents occurred earlier this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Doctors at a Delaware hospital diagnosed Andes virus in a 29-year-old woman in January after she developed fever, malaise, and muscle pain. She spent 5 days in the hospital before recovering and being discharged, CNN reported. The woman had spent 2 weeks in the Andes region of Argentina and Chile, where she "stayed in cabins and youth hostels in reportedly poor condition," according to a case study published in the October 19 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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Andes virus is a "type of hantavirus that is found in rodents in South America," and the virus can spread to people through contact with infected rodents and their droppings, the CDC says. Early symptoms "can look similar to the flu, and may include: headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea," and can appear 4 days to 6 weeks after exposure, according to the agency.

The virus can be transmitted between people, and the CDC identified 53 people in 6 states who had contact with the woman. None tested positive for the virus, CNN reported. Andes virus can lead to a fatal respiratory disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. "There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine" for the syndrome, the CDC said.

CNN Article
CDC Case Report