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Researchers at Charité – Universitätsmedizin in Berlin have confirmed and have published their findings in “Emerging Infectious Diseases”. The finding is about the first animal-to-human transmission of a species of virus known as “Seoul Virus”. According to the institute, this may alter the course in how we handle both domestic and wild rats since traces of the viruses have been found in pet rats as well. The Hantavirus Disease Syndrome is a disease that patients suffer after coming into contact with wild rodents, notably rats and mice through direct and indirect contact. Several outbreaks have been confirmed in the 21st CE in Germany, but cases do remain relatively rare. What makes the “Seoul Virus” so different is that it remained contained in Eastern Asia. Authorities believe that the virus found its way from Asia to Europe through wild rats on ships. Samples and detection of the Seoul Virus were first found in a young patient and her infected pet rat. The young girls required intensive medical attention after developing signs of acute kidney failure.
A special laboratory at Charité developed a way to detect the presence of this species of virus. This raised concerns because it essentially pointed out that the pet rat of the girl indeed transmitted the virus and thus becomes a zoonotic disease.
The authors of the study commented on this by saying that “…Until now, only contact with mice would result in a suspected diagnosis of hantavirus infection. It will now be necessary to consider the possibility of infection after contact with either wild or domesticated rats as well,” and added that “…The fact that this pathogen has been confirmed in a pet rat also means that the virus is capable of being exported, via the trade in these animals, practically anywhere in the world.” Those keeping rats are therefore advised to exercise caution.”
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