With the recent outbreak of the Seoul Virus among pet rats, rat owners may find themselves overwhelmed with all of the big headlines giving rats just one more strike on their bad reputations. But just how bad is this virus? Should we all panic? My opinion: yes, and no!
Can Humans Contract the Seoul Virus from Pet Rats?
The short answer: yes. And yes, it can make people rather sick. However, you’re not going to just catch this virus from any pet rat. It must be a rat that has been infected recently; whether it originated in the facility where the outbreak occured or was housed with a rat that came from the facility. If I’m not mistaken, people can also give the disease to their rats. However, I wouldn’t be too concerned unless you work in a commercial rattery, pet shop, rescue, or shelter that deals with lots of rats.
What Are the Symptoms of Infection in Humans with Seoul or Hantavirus?
Since many rats will appear virtually void of symptoms even when infected, we’ll focus on symptoms in humans. If you begin to feel sick, it is strongly recommended that you seek testing for yourself and your pet rats.
Symptoms of Seoul Virus infection include fever, chills, headache, red or inflamed eyes, rashes, pain in the abdomen, back aches, nausea, blurry vision, and a flushed face. Do not hesitate to seek treatment, as the illness can become very severe in extreme cases; especially those involving individuals with weakened immune systems, who are pregnant, or who are very young or old.