City of Amarillo Reports First Hantavirus Case

- AMARILLO – The City of Amarillo is reporting a recent diagnosis of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in a local resident.

The diagnosis has prompted the City’s departments of Public Health and Environmental Health to remind area residents to take precautions to prevent exposure to the virus that causes HPS at their places of residence, work and recreation. 

Hantavirus is an infection of the lungs caused by several different strains of the virus found in rodents. 

Human infection comes from breathing in the virus from dried rodent urine, droppings, nesting material and saliva. When these substances are stirred up by vacuuming, sweeping or similar activity, tiny droplets or particles containing the virus get into the air and can be inhaled.

The U.S. type of Hantavirus has not been shown to transmit from one person to another. You cannot get the virus from close contact with a person who has HPS or from a health care worker who has treated someone with the disease.
Potential Risk Activities for HPS:
  • Opening or cleaning cabins, sheds and outbuildings, including barns, garages and storage facilities that were closed is a potential risk for Hantavirus infections, especially in rural settings.
  • Cleaning in and around your own home can put you at risk if rodents are present. 
  • Construction, utility and pest control workers can be exposed when they work in crawl spaces, under houses, or in vacant buildings that may have a rodent population.
  • Campers and hikers can also be exposed when they use infested trail shelters or camp in other rodent habitats.
HPS patients experience the following symptoms:  
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain  

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