City confirms first Hantavirus case - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

City confirms first Hantavirus case

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Amarillo, TX - The City of Amarillo has confirmed it's first case of hantavirus, an infection of the lungs which is caused by several different strands of the virus found in rodents. 

The City's Health Department says the patient has improved but hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) can be a very serious illness. 

Health Officials say the disease can be contracted in places like barns, outbuildings, shed or any environments where rodents are living. The host of the virus is the deer mouse, which lives in teh western and central US and Canada, including the Texas Panhandle. 

Infection occurs when the virus is breathed in after it has been kicked up, from things like dried rodent urine, droppings, nesting material and saliva. 

A release from the city says hantavirus has not been shown to transmit from one person to another. 

It also states potential risk activities for HPS:

• Opening or cleaning cabins, sheds and outbuildings, including barns, garages and storage facilities that have been closed is a potential risk for hantavirus infections, especially in rural settings.

• Cleaning in and around your own home can put you at risk if rodents are present. 

• Construction, utility and pest control workers can be exposed when they work in crawl spaces, under houses, or in vacant buildings that may have a rodent population.

• Campers and hikers can also be exposed when they use infested trail shelters or camp in other rodent habitats.


HPS symptoms include: 

• Fatigue

• Fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders

• Headaches

• Dizziness

• Chills

• Abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain