I recently received an email from a broadcast engineer who wanted to remind readers about exposure to hantavirus.
The disease is serious and can be fatal if left untreated. Apparently, symptoms resemble those of the flu, and it can take up to six weeks for the virus to incubate before symptoms appear.
That can be a big problem because it may lead to a misdiagnosis, which is quite possible if one forgets about a possible exposure, and more importantly, delay appropriate medical attention.
Hantavirus is contracted from exposure to rodent urine and feces. It can cause HPS — hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
The broadcast engineer who wrote in explained that it’s not uncommon to have a rodent problem in transmitter cabinets located in remote places — especially out West.
Recently, the engineer found a rodent infestation at one of his station’s remote sites, and even though he took great care to avoid contact with the feces and urine when cleaning up the mess, he developed an illness. In his case, it was not hantavirus, but he is convinced his illness was related to the cleanup.
Bottom line: Be careful and take hantavirus seriously.
More information about hantavirus is available on the CDC website.