A migrant worker on the crew of a fishing vessel in northern Taiwan was recently diagnosed with hantavirus hemorrhagic fever, which was the first confirmed case in the country this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.
CDC doctor Su Chia-pin (蘇家彬) said the patient, in his 20s, sought medical attention after developing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue on Aug. 3.
The medication the man received did not alleviate his symptoms and he was admitted to hospital on Aug. 5, where his kidney and liver function tests were found to be abnormal, Su said.
Subsequent tests confirmed that the man had hantavirus hemorrhagic fever, Su said, adding that patient has since been treated and discharged.
The man is believed to have been infected by mice on the fishing vessel on which he was working, the CDC said, adding that a mouse caught on the boat by health inspectors had tested positive for the virus.
Other fishing boats in the area were disinfected to prevent the spread of the hantavirus, while there have been no signs of infection among the people with whom the patient came into contact, the CDC said.
According to the CDC, there have been 12 reported cases of hantavirus hemorrhagic fever in the country since 2009, all of which were indigenous. The patients were mostly males in their 50s and older, the CDC said.
People usually become infected with a hantavirus through exposure to the urine and droppings of small infected rodents such as mice, which are the primary carriers, according to the CDC.
Symptoms usually develop within two weeks after exposure to the virus but can take up to eight weeks in rare cases, the CDC said.
The initial symptoms usually start suddenly and include intense headaches, back and abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision, according to the CDC.
Later symptoms may include low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure, which can cause severe fluid overload, the CDC said.
It suggested the use of a 10 percent bleach solution (1:10 dilution) to disinfect areas or items contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials.