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CDC Investigates Seoul Virus in Missouri

Monday, January 30, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kim Ralston
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Multi-State Seoul Virus Investigation




Outbreak Information


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials from Wisconsin and Illinois are conducting an investigation of Seoul virus infections among pet rats and persons exposed to rats at rat-breeding facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois. Although serologic studies have indicated the presence of Seoul virus in wild rats in the United States, this is the first known outbreak associated with pet rats in the United States.


Trace-back and trace-out investigations of possibly infected rodents have identified distribution chains in other states that may require additional investigations. A total of 13 states have been identified in which residents may have infected rats. To date, one facility has been identified in Missouri and an investigation is being initiated. This facility may or may not currently have infected rats and other facilities might be identified by CDC in their ongoing investigation. Should more facilities be identified during the course of the investigation, the local public health agency of each relevant jurisdiction will be notified.


Disease Information


Seoul virus is a member of the hantavirus group of rodent-borne viruses. People who become infected with this virus often exhibit relatively mild or no symptoms, but some will develop a form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) with death in approximately 1–2% of HFRS cases. Seoul virus is transmitted from rats to people; it is not transmitted from human to human.  Infected rats do not become sick but can shed virus for many months.  There is no specific treatment for Seoul virus infection; supportive therapy is the mainstay of care. 


Testing Information


Seoul virus infection in rats can be detected by testing specimens including blood, kidney tissue, fecal pellets, and environmental samples. Testing may be available through CDC and/or private veterinary laboratories.


Seoul virus infection in humans is confirmed by testing for Seoul virus IgM and IgG antibodies or by detection of viral RNA.  Human testing is conducted at CDC through coordination with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). 



Questions regarding this multi-state investigation, including testing for Seoul virus infection in rats and humans, may be directed to DHSS’ Office of Veterinary Public Health at 573-526-4780 or 800-392-0272 (24/7). 


Additional information may be found at the following links:


·        Health Advisory: Investigation of Seoul Virus Outbreak Associated with Home-based, Rat-breeding Facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois, January 24, 2017

·        CDC Website: Multi-state Outbreak of Seoul Virus /

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