Pet rats linked to virus outbreak in Illinois, Wisconsin: CDC

Pet rats linked to virus outbreak in Illinois, Wisconsin: CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that pet rats were the cause of recent virus outbreak which sickened 8 people in Illinois and Wisconsin.

CDC said the victims in the two states worked at rat-breeding facilities and got infected with Seoul virus that is not typically found in the nation.

Health authorities discovered half a dozen cases of Seoul virus infections at an Illinois rat breeding facility after investigators learned that two Seoul infection victims in Wisconsin had worked with pet rats at a rat-breeding facility in their state.

The federal agency said in statement, “CDC has deployed two epidemiologists to work with local and state health authorities to determine if any customers who bought rats have become ill … The virus is not spread between people and cannot be transmitted to or from other types of pets. Rats infected with Seoul virus typically do not appear sick.”

Seoul virus is typically carried by Norway rodents that are found around the globe. Humans can become infected with the virus in case they come in contact with an infected rat’s saliva, urine or blood, or it a person gets bitten by an infected rat.

A team of experts from the federal agency is working with the Illinois and Wisconsin health departments to probe the Seoul virus outbreak, which is the first known outbreak linked with pet rats in the nation.