The rat problem in Washington, DC, is so bad, two people got hantavirus

On Saturday, September 10, 2017, mice drink water in the back alleys of the Parkview district near a construction site in Washington, DC.
expansion / / On Saturday, September 10, 2017, mice drink water in the back alleys of the Parkview district near a construction site in Washington, DC.

Many may already think of the country’s capital as a political rat’s nest. Underground network A crowded back room where the faint smell of betrayal can rush lawmakers. But Washington, DC is also literally a mouse den. And it creates a risk of viral spillover for residents.

of Report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, DC health officials have criticized the first two known cases of orthohantavirus spillover in the city. The virus infects quietly in rats and other rodent populations, but can cause fatal respiratory and bleeding disorders in humans. Humans pick up infections by direct contact with rodent urine and nest dust, or by inhaling aerosolized viral particles from urine, feces, and saliva. The virus can also spread from rat-bite fever, but this is less common. When invading humans, viruses rarely jump from human to human.

Fortunately for Washington, DC residents, the type of orthohantavirus found in the city is one of the milder types. It is an “old world” hunter virus called the soul virus. Old world orthohantavirus Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome.. HFRS can begin like a common infection with fever, chills, nausea, and headaches. However, it can progress to hypotension, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute renal failure, the CDC said. The severity of HFRS depends on the orthohantavirus caught, but the case fatality rate can reach up to 15 percent. The soul virus is one of the milder forms, with a case fatality rate of only about 1 percent. As a result, infected individuals recovered in both cases reported by DC health authorities.

Two hunter viruses

It’s a relatively rosy scenario. The Americas are best known for carrying the “New World” orthohantavirus. Hunter virus Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. And these are far more deadly. HPS can also begin like a common infection with fever, chills, and pain. However, it can progress to the acute life-threatening cardiopulmonary phase after about a week. And from there, the disease can progress rapidly, the lungs are filled with fluids, and people require hospitalization and often ventilation within 24 hours. HPS is about deadly 38 percent of cases, CDC notebook.However, in the case of the most important “New World” orthohantavirus in the United States, the Sin Nombre virus spread by white-footed mice, the mortality rate is high. About 50 percent..

Sin Nombre and HPS received the attention of US health authorities in 1993. Mysterious outbreak of fatal respiratory illness in the Four Corners area, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, where Utah meets. CDC disease Investigators competed to understand a virus they had never seen before, Sin Nombre (an unnamed virus), has captured and tested rodents in hundreds of areas and found the source. as a whole, CDC identified 48 cases in 199327 of them were deadly. Between the first outbreaks of 1993 and 2019, the official count of CDC orthohantavirus infections reached 816.

The milder cousin of Shinnomburu, the soul virus, was far more modest in the United States. Seoul spreads among the common brown rats (sometimes called sewer rats, wharf rats, or Norwegian rats). Over the years, these mice have traveled extensively by boat, building homes around the world, especially in urban environments. It is also kept as a pet. Due to the worldwide distribution of mice, the soul virus was first described in South Korea, but was named because it was found all over the world.

Soul virus is Baltimore New Orleans. It is also found in pet mice nationwide. 2017 survey by US and Canadian health authorities We identified 31 US rat facilities infected with the soul virus in humans and / or rats in 11 states, including 6 that exchanged rats with Canadian rats. Nevertheless, the spread of the soul virus from common mice to humans is considered rare.

Attention story

Therefore, the two DC cases are noteworthy. One patient (Patient A) was a healthy 30-year-old man who worked as a conservative and “frequently witnessed rodents at work.” In May 2018, Patient A developed an inflammatory syndrome that was extremely rare but potentially fatal in response to the infection. Still, he recovered after supportive care. In an unrelated case, patient B, a 37-year-old man with chronic kidney disease, became ill in November, five months later. Unlike Patient A, it is unknown how Patient B picked up the virus. DC health officials said Patient B “worked as a dishwasher and plumber’s assistant, had no recent trips outside the United States, and had no pets. He was sick at work, at home, or while commuting. I was unaware that I was exposed to my teeth. ” .. He had signs of acute kidney injury due to infection, but Patient B also recovered after supportive care.

DC health officials have accused two cases of the rat problem throughout DC’s city. This has increased over the years. “DC rodents overpopulation is well documented by increasing complaints through city-wide call centers to rodents management programs, and the DC Health Department addresses this public health threat. We are expanding our efforts for this, “they write. Survey According to the Washington Post, rodent complaints near some cities increased by more than 400 percent between 2014 and 2017. Another report In November 2021, the city’s total number of rodent complaints was found to have increased by 40% between 2018 and 2020.

Health officials have concluded that this case is an important reminder for physicians to consider orthohantavirus infection when diagnosing patients. The case also highlights the dangers of living around rodents. They “serve public attention to minimize the risk of infection by following recommended hygiene practices,” officials wrote.

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