EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHANTAVIRUS DEATH
from Eyewitness News Online
Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Confirms Hantavirus Death
Reported by: Elizabeth Norieka
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Sep. 6, 2012 2:36 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 7, 2012 9:09 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has confirmed a death from Hantavirus in Kanawha County.
A press conference is planned for 3 p.m. Thursday.
In a news release, the department said it is investigating a death from Hantavirus that is connected to the on-going outbreak associated with Yosemite National Park in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed this week that laboratory specimens have tested positive for Hantavirus in a Kanawha County resident who passed away recently as a result of the illness. The person had visited Yosemite National Park in recent months.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare disease spread by contact with infected rodents, primarily deer mice, whose densest populations in West Virginia are found in the high elevation forests. Most people with HPS are infected by breathing in small viral particles from rodent urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air. The fatality rate of infected individuals is about 36 percent. Hantavirus is not contagious from person to person and cases are very uncommon in this state as only three have been associated with West Virginia since 1981.
Since June, eight confirmed cases of HPS have been associated with staying at Yosemite, while three of the ill persons have died. Additional suspected cases are being investigated from multiple health jurisdictions across the country. Providers are reminded to consider the diagnosis of HPS in all persons presenting with clinically compatible illnesses and to ask about potential rodent exposure or if they had recently visited Yosemite National Park.
Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups — thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear which include coughing, shortness of breath, and pressure on the chest. The incubation period for HPS is typically two to four weeks after exposure, with a range of a few days up to six weeks. There is no specific treatment available but early recognition and administration of supportive care greatly increase the chance of survival.
Anyone who has symptoms consistent with presentation for HPS and has recently visited Yosemite National Park should contact their health care provider.
If you need additional information, please contact 304-348-1088 or visit the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department website, www.kchdwv.org.
Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for further updates.
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