CDC expands investigation of rat virus outbreak in humans

The CDC expanded its investigation into an outbreak of the Seoul virus that has infected 11 people across Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The agency first reported the outbreak on Jan. 18 after the detection of eight infections among individuals in Illinois and Wisconsin. Health officials linked the infections to animal suppliers in both states. Further investigation detected cases in Indiana.

Investigators believe rats potentially carrying the virus may have been distributed or received in 12 additional states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

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Seoul virus is carried by Norway rats, both wild and domesticated, and can be found across the world. It does not cause illness in rates, but can infect humans if they are exposed to blood, saliva or urine or are bit by an infected rat. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, blurred vision and a rash. The virus cannot be spread from person-to-person contact.

All of the infected individuals have reportedly recovered.

To learn more about Seoul, click here.

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