Mode of Transmission

Inhalation of the virus, which is shed in rodent urine, feces, and saliva, is felt to be the main method of disease transmission in man. Cases have been reported after a rodent bite, and researchers think that people may become infected if they touch some object that has been contaminated with rodent excretions and then touch their nose or mouth. People may possibly be infected if they eat food contaminated with rodent excretions. No evidence of person to person transmission has been documented in the United States, however in South America, the Andes virus can be spread by person to person. When exposure information was analyzed, 70% of cases of HPS were closely associated with peridomestic activities, such as cleaning, in homes that showed signs of rodent infestation (58).

In the United States, farm animals, dogs, cats, ticks and biting insects have not been shown to transmit disease to humans. However a recent study has found hantavirus-specific RNA in chiggers and an ixodid tick parasitizing wild rodents in Texas (59).

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