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Mice/Hantavirus from mice in Tennessee?


QUESTION: I have a 2 part question regarding mice and a virus called hantavirus. I live in Tennessee which is obviously in the south. I was wondering what kind of mice live here? And when I was helping my sisters move a couch out of my garage that mice where living it got me thinking about the fact of hantavirus....what are the chances of catching it where I live and how rare is it? I heard that most cases where west of the Mississippi im scared of hospitals and docters and I am afraid of death believe it or not and what are the common symptoms of HPS?

ANSWER: Hi Alex,

Hantavirus is very rare. There have been about 600 cases in the US in the last 20 years. It is mostly concentrated in the Four Corner states. There has **never** been a case in Tennessee. There have been none in the four states South of you and in the other states around you there have ben one or two cases-- in 20 years.

It is carried by the deer mouse, the cotton rat, and the white footed mouse. Tennessee has at least the first two

The symptoms are like a very bad flu.  From the CDC information about hantavirus:

Early symptoms:

fever, headaches, muscle aches, stomach problems, dizziness, chills

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

Late symptoms:

lungs fill with fluid, shortness of breath
Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a "...tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face" as the lungs fill with fluid.

Here is the CDC section on it:

My answer? You have nothing to worry about. Of course I can't say 100% but let's say 99.999%.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I will see in a couple of weeks...and also is there any chance of surviving the virus? I have a soar throat right now but Is that a symptom of the hantavirus? and I live in a suburban area about 45 minutes away from any of those mice live in suburban areas? I also got a good look at their feces....I cant really describe was long and worried about my going to pray tonight.

Thank you

ANSWER: Dear Alex,

You don't have hantavirus. I promise you!



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: One last question sorry to bug house mice live in my area and what does their feces look like and how do you know I dont have HPS?(trying to not be rude)

Thank you

Dear Alex,

There are house mice but they don't carry hantavirus. Their feces are tiny, black, and the shape of a cucumber.  

There has never been a case of hantavirus in Tennessee. Also never in any of the states to your South. And in 20 years only a couple in the states to the North. You live in one of the safest areas there is in the US when it comes to hantavirus.

Symptoms of hantavirus are also far, far more severe than a sore throat.

I am sorry you are so worried and I hope this is comforting.




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