DSHS Urges Hantavirus Precautions Following Golden Crescent Case
AUSTIN, December 23, 2014 - The Texas Department of State Health Services is reminding people to protect themselves from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a rare but sometimes fatal illness, after a resident of the Golden Crescent region along the central Texas coast was diagnosed with HPS.
Hantavirus is carried by certain species of rats and mice that shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. The virus can be transmitted to people by stirring up nesting materials or contaminated dust, allowing the virus to be breathed in by humans. Cases have been linked to cleaning out buildings where rodents live and working in dusty environments like ranches and oilfields.
Early symptoms of hantavirus infection include fatigue, fever and muscle aches that may be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath. If hantavirus is suspected, people shouldcontact their health care provider immediately and mention any potential exposure to rodents, their nests or their waste.
There have been five HPS cases reported in Texas in 2014. A total of 43 HPS cases have been confirmed in Texas since 1993, the first year the disease was detected. Of those, 14 were fatal.