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Hanta Pulmonary Syndrome The Hanta Pulmonary Syndrome HPS is a disease that has emerged in North America only recently Its source is a virus carried by rodents particularly the deer mouse and transmitted by direct contact with their droppings Symptoms appear within the one to six weeks of initial exposure and initially include muscle aches fever and other flu-like symptoms After a while the victim may experience shortness of breath and coughing resulting from decreased circulation in the lungs and a lowered white blood cell count coupled with opportunistic infections At this stage if they are not brought to a hospital soon they stand the risk of dying within the next twenty-four hours This disease although not new has experienced a large re-emergence in the southwestern United States and Mexico due to the arid climates in those areas Cases have been spread all over the western US with even a few in the east but nearly half of the cases to date have been in the Four Corners area In a dry area the diseases incubation is somewhat longer making the chances of contracting it somewhat higher In places such as woodpiles and sheds where there is little air circulation to move off the virus it can linger for a sizeable duration of time The best method of fighting the hanta virus is prevention By controlling the rodent population and preventing them from entering houses and sheds the risk of infection can be lowered Furthermore educating those in high-risk areas of the signs of the disease and what to do about them significantly lowers the likelihood of death The virus cannot spread from human to human even during its peak state but since exposed persons may not show symptoms for some weeks the likelihood of other people becoming infected by the same source is considerable For this reason it is important that those living in areas where it is or may
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