Simi Valley Man Contracts Hanta Virus
Simi Valley Man Contracts Deadly Hanta Virus
Deer Mice Carry Antibody

By Zerline Hughes
Ventura County Star writer
Friday June 2, 2000

A spokeswoman at Simi Valley Hospital said Thursday night a male patient with a confirmed case of the often deadly hantavirus disease was admitted early this week.

Spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said hospital officials have contacted the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to report the case.

Neither Gonzalez nor any other hospital officials could provide additional information about the case, including the man's condition.

Hantavirus is a relatively rare disease transmitted through the urine, feces and saliva of deer mice. It also can be airborne. The illness starts with flu-like symptoms and can progress to respiratory failure. It kills around 40 percent of those who contract it, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which has issued a national warning about hantavirus.

As of early May, 250 cases of the illness, officially known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, had been identified in 31 states since 1993, when the disease became highly publicized, though it is believed to have existed in this country since sometime in the 1970s. Authorities said 26 of the cases have been in California. The most recent death in California was in Kern County last year.

A mid-1990s study found that deer mice on several of the Channel Islands had the hantavirus antibody.

Over the Memorial Day weekend in 1999, a 7-year-old Oxnard boy visiting the Channel Islands with his family played with a mouse that later tested positive for the virus antibody but the boy turned out to be fine.

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Like hantavirus, which causes a rare, but often fatal respiratory disease, arenaviruses are believed to be transmitted to humans through inhalation of dust contaminated with the urine, feces or saliva of infected rodents. Viral hemorrhagic fever associated with arenaviruses has never been documented before in the United States hanta virus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Lassa virus, Lassa fever, infected hosts, rodent excrement, fever, headache and occasionally severe bleeding, nervous system problems

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