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A new hantavirus in the Western United States - occupational health implications.
New Epidemics in Occupational Health, Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Epidemics in Occupational Health, May 16-19, 1994, Helsinki, Finland. 1994 May; :180-187
The epidemiology and biology of the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) was described in connection with occupational health issues. HPS symptoms included fever, hemostatic dysfunctions, and possible hemorrhaging. Transmission occurred primarily through contact with rodent or rodent excreta; person to person transmission was not said to occur. An outbreak of HPS had affected rural populations of adults, and was linked to a reported deer mouse population explosion. Concern existed about the disease transmission to health care workers through occupational exposure. Initial suggestions for prevention emphasized reducing opportunity for contact by discouraging rodent habitation. In 1993, a list of preventive measures was provided by the Centers for Disease Control, with a focus on reducing the opportunity for contact by reducing the rodent population via trapping, safe disposal of dead rodents, use of disinfectants, ventilation of enclosures, and use of rubber or plastic gloves. Additional precautions were given for workers routinely exposed to rodents including special training, use of respirators when handling rodents, and prompt medical evaluation of suspicious symptoms. Despite the advantages provided by such measures, two specific issues arose. By requiring the precautions unnecessary additional costs were added. Additionally, the failure of those truly at risk to comply with the precautions may have resulted in the acquisition of an untreatable, lethal disease. Currently, the determination of a sufficient level of and requirement for respiratory protection is an issue. The author urges that more accurate assessments be made of the risks, and additional design of appropriate preventive strategies be accomplished.
Health-care-personnel; Risk-factors; Infectious-diseases; Disease-vectors; Viral-infections; Disease-transmission; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders
Rantanen-J; Lehtinen-S; Kalimo-R; Nordman-H; Vainio-H
New Epidemics in Occupational Health, Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Epidemics in Occupational Health, May 16-19, 1994, Helsinki, Finland
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division