THE FIRST EVER Irish case of a life-threatening virus which spreads to humans from rodents has been confirmed by the HSE.
Hantavirus, which has similar symptoms to influenza, was discovered in a patient at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick earlier this year but the case has only been confirmed now.
The 30-year-old tourist from Germany had renal failure and respiratory symptoms when he arrived at the hospital.
He was discharged and returned to Germany once he had made a full recovery. The exact diagnosis was confirmed by early June after he underwent further tests in Germany.
Hantavirus has never been previously reported in Ireland but the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, which monitors diseases in Ireland, reports that there were an “exceptional” number of cases in Germany in late 2011 and early 2012.
The HPSC noted that it was surprising that the diagnosis is so rare in Ireland given the prevalence of the virus in continental Europe and the high level of movement between countries.
Humans can get sick from the virus if they come into contact with contaminated rodent droppings but it can not be spread between people.