Latest case of killer virus in Michigan serves as warning to all

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As we have written about before in this article, Heads up! These mice droppings can kill you the hantavirus can be found in the USA and transmitted to people who are in close contact with rodent droppings, urine and saliva. Most often it is inhaled while cleaning out an old shed or basement.

Health officials announced Michigan’s first case of the Sin Nombre hantavirus this week, The Detroit Free Press reported. A woman was hospitalized.

The CDC has only reported 21 cases of the hantavirus in the US from 1993 through 2018, the last year statistics were made available on its website.

Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide.  Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people. Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Other hantaviruses, known as “Old World” hantaviruses, are found mostly in Europe and Asia and may cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host. The most important hantavirus in the United States that can cause HPS is the Sin Nombre virus, spread by the deer mouse. The disease kills about 40 percent of people that catch it, and can cause “coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a ‘…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face’ as the lungs fill with fluid,” according to the CDC.

Peromyscus maniculatus is a rodent native to North America. It is most commonly called the Deer Mouse, although that name is common to most species of Peromyscus, and thus is often called the North American deermouse and is fairly widespread across the continent, with the major exception being the southeast United States and the far north.

Like other Peromyscus species, it can be a vector and carrier of emerging infectious diseases such as hantaviruses and Lyme disease.

It is closely related to Peromyscus leucopus, the white-footed mouse.