The term, Rat Lung Disease, was first coined in the U.S. in 1993 after health authorities investigated the sudden deaths of several young,(under 40 years of age), apparently healthy persons from acute respiratory failure.
When tissues samples of the decedents were examined, a Hantavirus
was isolated. Looking to historical clues for the reason for this sudden appearance of a new disease, scientists found the Hantavirus in the tissues of an unexplained death from way back in 1959. The resultant disease was then re-named Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or HPS.
To date, the virus has been transmitted to humans who have had contact with feces from infected rodents, specifically but not limited to deer and white-footed mice, rice and cotton rats. No cases have been reported of person to person contamination, but cases of HPS have been noted in Canada as well as several South American countries.
Symptoms of HPS
Afflicted patients usually have at least some fever and muscle pain in addition to a severe shortness of breath.
There is no prescribed treatment protocol, cure or vaccine although patients are normally intubated and given oxygen therapy.
Eliminate contact with rodent droppings in your campsite, workplace or home by sealing up all exterior openings, trapping
and baiting and by cleaning up all debris that might either harbor or attract the whiskered villians. Cleaning up is paramount as many persons afflicted by HPS have been unaware of being exposed to rodent feces and authorities speculate that even dust
that has been in the presence of rodent droppings may infect humans with HPS.