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Thread: Hanta-virus

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    Default Hanta-virus

    Just wondering how many cases of this virus have been confirmed in thru hikers in the last couple of years. I've read about Lyme disease on this site but couldn't find any thing about this virus.

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    Registered User Streamweaver's Avatar
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    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5028a3.htm

    http://my.webmd.com/content/healthwi...tselectedguid={5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

    Heres a couple of articles about the Hantavirus, It doesnt say anything about thru-hikers but in the web-med article there is a bit about prevention for campers and hikers. It seems that its mosty found in the southwestern US but it also mentioned a confirmed case in Vermont. Streamweaver

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    Since you get this from stirred up dust from rodent droppings, I had concerns about the shelters on the AT. Had read somewhere last year about some cases in the Appl's. The advice for prevention in those links is pretty hard for hikers to follow.
    Thanks for the response and the links, greatly appreciated.

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    Registered User Streamweaver's Avatar
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    Yeah I agree that the prevention tips arent very realistic as far as hikers go. I think the best thing that could be done is if a broom could be supplied at all shelters(I know some have them but not all) sweeping out the shelter floor before everyone beds down for the night would go a long way in clearing out the droppings to at least lessen the problem. That and practicing good hygeine is about the best you can do I guess. Streamweaver

  5. #5

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    Actually that would make it worse. If hantavirus is present in the local mouse population, you just kick the dust up into the air for respiratory ingestion.

    Probably the best thing that could be done would be for caretakers to mop out the shelters regularly with lysol or something similarly strong. The problem there is the likelihood that you'll get some local site contamination. Plain old soap might do the job. If this is done in the morning, the shelter deck SHOULD be dry by evening, but no guarantees on that. The last person out of the shelter could sweep it in the morning, but a dust mask would be a really good idea in that case.

    Viral particles are extremely small. They kick up into the air REAL easy. The anthrax that was used to contaminate the Seante building post 9-11 was finely milled stuff, but nowhere near as small as most viral particles. Under a lab hood, they couldn't keep the powder on a lab spatula, it just lifted off and floated into the air. Even the mildest air current carried it away. So Hantavirus particles in dehydrated mouse urine dust is gonna float up nicely once disturbed.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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    Don't work yourself up about this issue. There really is very little concern.
    "Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all."

    - Helen Keller

  7. #7

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    That's absolutely right. Hanta Virus is not a major concern on the AT at this time. AS far as I know, there has only been a single case of it reported that MIGHT be linked to the AT.

    I was merely providing some general info
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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    Post with drawn

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    Last edited by alpine; 12-11-2003 at 09:07.
    Where Eagles dare!!!

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    The hantavirus scare came from the sensational swell of fear that a virus had jumped species from rodents to humans in 1994. Epidemiologists decended on the Navajo in space-suits preaching gloom and doom. But no epidemic materialized--only one case of possible human-human transmission has ever been noticed. The public was left with the impression, though, that hanta is a big deal.

    If you remove that false big deal (because there was no epidemic), then you are left with just a few hundred isolated cases of rodent-human transmission. The viruses are likely very old and only recently show up as as these few hundred "new" cases because we only recently have the ability to isolate the viruses and test for antibodies to them. It's doubtful that anything is spreading.

    As with any old virus, the health of your immune system at the time you contact it is what is important. If you are young, then proper nutrition, plenty of sleep, avoidance of Lyme disease and parasites, and lack of nasty drugs in your system should do you well versus any virus you would ever encounter in the woods. If you are older, then there is even more importantce on the above list. Virtually everyone slammed by any virus has something compromising their immune system. Beware of public health officials preaching that perfectly healthy individuals can be slammed by a virus.

    And beware of epidemiologists wearing space-suits.

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    Registered User gravityman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Monster
    The hantavirus scare came from the sensational swell of fear that a virus had jumped species from rodents to humans in 1994.
    Actually it's a big deal to us because a) there is a case where someone got the virus and it could be linked to a shelter on the AT (I don't know any more details) and b) there are a million-zillion rodents and their droppings in every shelter. If the rodents on the AT have it, then that is scary...

    Gravity Man

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    Quote Originally Posted by gravityman
    Actually it's a big deal to us ....
    Actually, it's NOT a big deal to us. Like the fear of an asteroid hitting earth. Some folks just live off being afraid of the dark.

    Makes more sense to be afraid of rape or robbery or lightning strikes, as those things actually do happen.

    But even they are SO rare they aren't "big deals" in the scheme of things.

    IMHO.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by gravityman
    Actually it's a big deal to us because a) there is a case where someone got the virus and it could be linked to a shelter on the AT (I don't know any more details) and b) there are a million-zillion rodents and their droppings in every shelter. If the rodents on the AT have it, then that is scary...

    Gravity Man
    Yes, you are exactly correct. Stay out of the shelters, especially when it is raining. Hanta and killer mice are everywhere. Please, I need the space, I hate setting up my tarp or tent in the rain.

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    Registered User gravityman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man
    Actually, it's NOT a big deal to us.
    Gesh, fine... I should have said,

    "Actually, its relevant to us because..."

    I agree, once you look at the facts, it is a vary rare day that you will get hanta virus, but it is worth knowing about.

    Why is it worth knowing about? Because you can reduce the chances of that rare day very easily. Simply don't sweep the shelter and breath the dust stirred up. That will essentially make your chances of getting it zero. That's all there is to it...

    So, although it is not very likely you can get it, there is something to be learned by reading about it. Knowledge is the enemy of fear.

    Gravity man

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    i saw a t.v program that said hantavirus is more prevalent after a wet summer. should be a bumper crop this year. this was the wettest year i've ever seen on the a.t. in PA. 2002 was the dryest. go figure. hantavirus is just another reason i don't care much for shelter sleeping (along with other snoring hikers). i tent near shelters whenever possible.

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