Infection with Rare Virus Linked Back to Pet Rats of a Teen

Recently, there was a mother along with her daughter in the state of Tennessee that got infected with a virus so rare that it is hardly ever encountered in the United States. And in this case, it seems to have come from pet rats.

According to a recent report, the two ladies have contracted the Seoul virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have published this finding. This Seoul virus belongs to Hantavirus group, a family of viruses which usually infect vermin and rodents.

Viral Outbreak of Rats Belonging to Rat Owners and Breeders

The CDC had reported earlier in the year that there had been an outbreak of this virus from rat owners and breeders in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. However, during the very same month, the Tennessee Department of Health was alerted about someone with pet rats from one of these Illinois breeders who had been known to have infected rats, according to this latest finding.

They reported that the owner of these pet rats, who was only an 18 year old, had become ill sick in December of 2016 with what they called an “unspecified viral illness,” these researchers reported. They reported that she has fully recovered from this virus without receiving any treatment. A lab test that was conducted upon a preserved blood sample from the rat owner indicated that she had indeed been infected with this Seoul virus.  

Teenager Refuses to Euthanize Her Rats

While the teenager would not permit health officials to examine and test her pet rats to see if they had the virus, these officials have assumed that they must likely had the virus as well. As might be expected, the state officials are recommending that these rats be euthanized. And yet again, this teenager has refused to take this advice.

As a response to this, the Tennessee Dept of Health has informed the teen that she will not be permitted to remove these rats from her house, basically issuing quarantine on her pet rats. Additionally, they trained the teenager along with her family in regards to the proper ways of avoiding infections. These include not having any contact with the urine of these rodents, as well as their droppings, nesting material and their saliva, they have reported.

However in April, the mother of the teenager became sick as well. She showed up at the emergency room with an extremely high fever, suffering from shortness of breath, was fatigued with a lack of appetite, the report stated. Blood tests indicated that she too had been afflicted with the Seoul virus. This mother informed the doctors that she had been cleaning up rat droppings around three weeks prior to becoming ill.

This Seoul virus has infected brown Norway rats, which live all over the world, as reported. The virus is easily spread among rats, and now we know that human can be afflicted as well as the rats can pass it to them. As of January of 2017, there have 17 confirmed infections of this Seoul virus in individuals from the U.S. that are linked directly to the rats from these rat breeders in the state of Illinois.