DLAM has put together the below information regarding Seoul virus. This information is particularly important for rat users. We do not anticipate any issues in our research rodent colonies due to this virus outbreak, but if you have any questions or concerns please contact OHF Director T. Warner Hudson or DLAM Veterinarian Cris Torres.
In January 18, 2017 , there was an outbreak of Seoul virus in 8 people in Illinois and Wisconsin associated with pet-rats. Subsequently, 17 cases have been reported in humans in 7 states (none in California). Since February 6, there have been no more reported human cases. Investigations are pending for rat breeders in 15 states, none in California.
Seoul virus is a hantavirus similar to Sin Nombre virus, but:
|Seoul Virus||Sin Nombre Virus|
|Geographic distribution||Worldwide||North America|
|Rodent associated||Any, but specifically the brown or Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus). The virus has been found in both pet rats and wild rat populations around the world.||Deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)|
|Disease in rodent||None, but do cause life-long infection and shedding of the virus. These viruses can occasionally spill over into other species of rodents, but they don’t cause chronic virus infections and shedding.||None, but do cause life-long infection and shedding of the virus. These viruses can occasionally spill over into other species of rodents, but they don’t cause chronic virus infections and shedding.|
|Transmission||People can become infected with this virus after coming in contact with urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents. When fresh rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up (for example, when vacuuming or sweeping), tiny particles containing the virus get into the air. This process is known as “aerosolization”. You may become infected when you breathe in these contaminated materials. You may also become infected when the urine or these other materials containing the virus get directly into a cut or other broken skin or into your eyes, nose, or mouth. In addition, people who work with live rodents can get the Seoul virus through bites from infected animals.
Seoul virus is not known to be spread from person to person.
|Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus. The rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. The virus is mainly transmitted to people when they breathe in air contaminated with the virus.
There are several other ways rodents may spread hantavirus to people:
Sin Nombre virus that cause HPS in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
|Disease in human||1-2 weeks after infection:
However, in the severe form of the disease, patients can exhibit bleeding and kidney involvement
Organ target: Kidney
|The severe disease associated with Sin Nombre virus infections is called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Most HPS infections lead to fever and body aches, progressing to severe breathing difficulties that frequently require hospitalization. Death occurs in approximately 38% of cases (or 38 of every 100 patients).
Organ target: Lungs