United States

First human case of 40% fatality rate virus confirmed in US

17:09, 08 June 2021
First human case of 40% fatality rate virus confirmed in US Photo: Reuters

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has reported the first human hantavirus case confirmed in Michigan.


A female in Washtenaw County was hospitalized with pulmonary illness from hantavirus. An individual supposedly exposed to the virus when cleaning an unoccupied dwelling that contained rodents.

Humans become infected when freshly dried materials contaminated by rodents are disturbed and inhaled, bites from rodents can also transmit hantavirus, MDHHS said in a statement.

"HPS is caused by some strains of hantavirus and is a rare but severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease that can occur one to five weeks after a person has exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva from infected rodents," chief deputy for health at MDHHS Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. 

"The greatest risk for hantavirus infection is associated with opening or cleaning closed-up buildings with rodent infestations without proper protection," the Michigan health officials report stated.

Hantavirus has a 40% fatality rate, its symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, headache, and gastrointestinal signs such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. 

Sin Nombre orthohantavirus was first detected in 1993 from rodents collected near the home of one of the patients with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the western United States. The prototypical etiologic agent means "without a name" in Spanish. The virus is spread by the deer mouse and white-footed mouse. Yet there were not any person-to-person cases of hantavirus transmission in the US. 

In January 2017, the nation's health protection agency - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - reported 728 cases of hantavirus disease in the United States from 1993, with two cases exposed outside the country.