By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Health authorities in Riverside County, CA report what is believed to be the first human case of
hantavirus in the county.

Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse)

The individual contracted the rare virus and was briefly hospitalized and is recovering at home.

Hantavirus was first identified in the United States in 1993 and the virus has since been found throughout the United States. In Riverside County, health officials said that while the virus has been found in past years during surveillance of rodents and animal droppings, this may be the first confirmed human case. Since 1993, when testing for the virus began, there have been 90 confirmed cases in California.

Public health officials believe the patient might have been exposed to deer mice droppings or urine that contained hantavirus while in the Whitewater area.

“The confirmation of this case reminds us of the importance of key safety practices when coming in contact with animals and the bacteria and viruses they may bring with them and leave behind,” said Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky, deputy public health officer for Riverside County. “There are simple steps the community can take to protect themselves.”

One way to prevent the virus is to regularly conduct thorough inspection and cleaning of rooms and cabins, exclude deer mice and other rodents from buildings, maintain good housekeeping and sanitation levels to discourage rodent infestations, and public education. It is important to seal up (seal up holes inside and outside the home to prevent entry by rodents), trap up (trap rodents around the home to help reduce the rodent population), and clean up (clean up rodent food sources and nesting sites).

People contract hantavirus  through contact with the urine, droppings or saliva of infected deer mice. Breathing small particles of mouse urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air is the most common means of acquiring infection. The illness starts one to six weeks after exposure with fever, headache, and muscle ache, and progresses rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing and, in some cases, death. It is not transmitted from human to human.