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Seoul Virus

Situation

In January 2017, Utah public health investigated a Utah facility possibly linked to a multi-state investigation of Seoul virus infections among pet rats and persons exposed to rats at ratteries (rat-breeding facilities) in Wisconsin and Illinois. This is the first known outbreak of Seoul virus associated with pet rats in the United States. Trace-backs to two Illinois ratteries, initiated after finding two cases in a Wisconsin rattery, revealed six additional people who tested positive for Seoul virus. All of these individuals have recovered.

Follow-up investigations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partnering state and local health departments indicated that potentially infected rodents may have been distributed or received in several states, including Utah. The Utah public health investigation revealed the Utah rattery has closed, and there are no rats remaining. Ongoing investigation efforts include testing people in direct contact with the rattery and coordinating additional follow-up and investigation with the CDC.

Seoul virus is a type of hantavirus. It is carried and spread by rodents, specifically the brown or Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). The virus has been found in both pet rats and wild rat populations around the world. Symptoms of the illness caused by Seoul virus usually begin within 1 to 2 weeks after contact with infectious material and may include fever, headache, back and abdominal pain, chills, nausea, blurred vision, flushing of the face, inflammation or redness of the eyes, and rash. Rarely, it may take up to 8 weeks to develop symptoms. There is no specific treatment for people with Seoul virus.

Information for the General Public

Information for Public Health Departments

 

Contact

Utah Department of Health
Bureau of Epidemiology
801-538-6191
Fax: 801-538-9913
Email: epi@utah.gov
288 North 1460 West
PO Box 142104
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2104

24-Hour Urgent Event & Disease Reporting

1-888-EPI-UTAH (374-8824)
 

Regular Business Hours:

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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