Thirteen people in eight states have contracted the Seoul virus, a virus carried by wild and domestic rats, according to the most recent CDC update on the outbreak.
CDC is assisting health officials in 15 states (Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin) n investigating the outbreak and has reported laboratory-confirmed Seoul virus positive results for humans or rats in seven states: Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. The two first cases operated a home-based rat breeding facility, and had purchased rats from animal suppliers in Wisconsin and IL prior to becoming infected .
Fever, headache, chills, nausea, rash, inflammation or redness of the eyes are some of the symptoms of the Seoul virus.
County public health officials have confirmed two of the human cases infected by the virus have come from the El Paso breeding facility. But the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention earlier tied two Midwest cases to a breeding facility in IL. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports there are now 13 human infections nationwide from this outbreak.
"If you have pet rats you feel could be infected, or if you or your loved ones have been in contact with pet rats and have any symptoms of Seoul virus, you should contact the department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH", she said in a statement. A rat breeding facility in El Paso County has been closely linked to the ensuing outbreak of the rodent-borne virus. Humans can become infected through contact with urine, droppings or saliva of infected rats, which can be breathed in after the virus is stirred up and gets into the air. "While this virus is spread only through infected rats, the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians is our priority".
There is no effective treatment for Seoul virus infection, according to the CDC website.
"In most cases the effects will be mild or the individual doesn't even know they've become infected or ill", said Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods, El Paso County Health Medical Director. In rare cases, infection can also lead to kidney disease and/or failure.