Seoul virus, a rodent-borne hantavirus, outbreak recently occurred amongst pet rats in Illinois and Wisconsin and has infected at least 8 patients. This is the first time that human cases associated with pet rats have occurred in the United States, but previous outbreaks have occurred in humans but with wild rats.
This outbreak investigation first began when a patient in Wisconsin went to a hospital with flu-like symptoms. The patient was tested for hantavirus but then the CDC confirmed it was Seoul virus, which is typically not seen in the United States. This patient led to another patient and then further investigation led to another 6 cases with workers in a breeding facility in Illinois. However, not all of them experienced symptoms--only one had the illness. Therefore, testing is still being conducted to see if more cases can be found amongst workers or rat owners, but from what they have found so far it looks like this is a rather complicated process.
-Jeanette Rios ('18)