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UER Forum > UE Encyclopedia > Hantavirus (Viewed 4885 times)
Entry: Hantavirus
originally posted by Jonsered

[last edit 10/27/2005 10:25 PM by Jonsered - edited 1 times]

Technically Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), this is a virus contracted by humans due to specific types of contact with rodents. It was unknown until 1993, when a team of scientists diagnosed it in New Mexico. The hantavirus can be contracted in a number of ways: by handling dead, infected deer mouse carcasses; by breathing in mouse-urine-laden dust particles that contain the virus; or by inhaling dust from areas of accumulated deer mouse droppings. Common locations for being exposed to these conditions include mines and abandoned buildings.

Since it is virtually impossible to identify one type of mouse refuse from another, is is important to take proper precautions against contracting this virus, such as use of a high quality respirator, and gloves. Although it is known to occur naturally across most of North and South America, the 30-50 cases reported each year are concentrated in the Four Corners area of the western United States.

Untreated cases of HPS are almost always fatal. However, if you can get yourself treated for HPS before the disease progresses to acute respiratory distress, then your chances of surviving are greatly increased. Thanks to improved methods of diagnosis, care, and a greater HPS awareness within the medical community, the mortality rate of HPS has rapidly decreased over the past few years.

HPS is a viral infection; if a severe viral infection cannot be prevented by a vaccine, then it can only be controlled with "aggressive supportive care", where the patient is provided continued medical assistance and (hopefully) kept alive long enough for their body to develop antibody resistance.

In the case of HPS, the patient will usually receive antibiotics initially, until the diagnosis of HPS is certain. Once HPS is proven, the patient will be transferred to an intensive-care unit, where they are carefully monitored for fluid balance, electrolyte balance, and blood pressure.

During the onset of the cardiopulmonary phase, the patient may need to be hooked up to a ventilator, which will hopefully keep them breathing. In some occasions, antiviral medication (such as Ribavirin and Bradycor) will be administered intravenously, although it hasn't shown much promise when fighting HPS. Interestingly enough, Ribavirin does appear to be an effective weapon against HFRS.

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UER Forum > UE Encyclopedia > Hantavirus (Viewed 4885 times)

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