In a follow-up on the Seoul virus outbreak in the US, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an additional human Seoul virus case in Indiana, bringing the multistate outbreak total to 11 in three states.

Image/National Park Service
Image/National Park Service

In addition to the Indiana case, human cases have been reported in Wisconsin (3) and Illinois (7).

CDC is assisting health officials in 15 states in investigating an outbreak of Seoul virus infection–Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

People can become infected with this virus after coming in contact with urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents. When fresh rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up (for example, when vacuuming or sweeping), tiny particles containing the virus get into the air. This process is known as “aerosolization”.

You may become infected when you breathe in these contaminated materials. You may also become infected when the urine or these other materials containing the virus get directly into a cut or other broken skin or into your eyes, nose, or mouth. In addition, people who work with live rodents can get the Seoul virus through bites from infected animals.

Symptoms are typically mild and may include fever, severe headache, back and abdominal pain, chills, blurred vision, redness of the eyes, or rash.

However, some will develop a form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) with death in approximately 1-2% of cases (1 to 2 persons in 100 people).