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Taiwan reports first hantavirus case in 2022 at horse ranch

Rodent feces suspected cause of infection

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A rat looks on in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. 

A rat looks on in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A worker at a horse ranch in the north has been diagnosed with hantavirus, the first case in Taiwan this year.

The patient, who is in his 40s, has no travel history and is believed to have contracted the virus from contact with mice feces at the workplace. Rats, the carrier of the virus, are frequently sighted at the farm he works at, according to the man.

He started exhibiting symptoms of the disease including fever, chills, and muscle pain on Feb. 12. The symptoms persisted, so he sought medical assistance on Feb. 14, after which he was hospitalized and diagnosed with the virus, said the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The man has been discharged from the hospital and is in stable condition. Contacts and people who live with him have not shown symptoms, while disinfection and an investigation have been carried out at the horse ranch.

Taiwan reported ten hantavirus cases in 2021, including people in Kaohsiung, Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Changhua, and Taichung, per the CDC.

Hantavirus is contracted through contact with rodent urine or feces, rodent bites, or objects contaminated with the virus. Some strains could result in severe diseases in humans, such as hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, which may cause diarrhea, vomiting, renal failure, and even death.

People are advised to sanitize their living environment and storage facilities with a diluted bleach solution to prevent the spread of the disease.