Vietnam metro to combat hantavirus with rat poison

TN News

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In light of the recent human case of hantavirus likely contracted via infected rats, Ho Chi Minh City will place poisoned bait at food factories, markets, breeding farms, and traffic stations.

Dr. Tran Phu Manh Sieu, director of Ho Chi Minh City Preventive Health Center, said each district would rely on its own resources to set up traps at as many public places as possible, set to include schools, hospitals, parks and office buildings.

Sieu said officers from the district preventive health units will check for rat caves, observe rats' routines and food sources to ensure the bait will be effective.

After four days, the dead rats will be collected every day for the subsequent ten days, he said.

He asked local families to keep their homes rat-free by cleaning their homes as thoroughly as possible.

Any pets that mistakenly eat poisoned rat bait will need to be immediately taken to a veterinarian, he said.

Last month, Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases received a 55-year-old patient, identified only as T., who was infected with hantavirus.

Doctors had initially diagnosed him with dengue fever as he had high fever and skin rashes, but later tests at the Pasteur Institute in the city showed he had hantavirus.

The man, who was discharged two weeks later after recovering, said he had been bitten by a rat while sleeping at home, prompting the Pasteur Institute to test rats and house mice near his house.

All three samples that tested positive for hantavirus came from rats, the institute said.

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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hantavirus found in Asia can cause Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS), which is fatal 5-15 percent of the time.

People become infected through contact with hantavirus-infected rodents, their urine or droppings.

Sieu said hantavirus infections are rare and cannot be spread from human to human.

"Over the past decade, Vietnam only recorded three cases of hantavirus infection from rats and none were fatal," he said.

But he said rats and mice also transmit other diseases such as bubonic plague and tetanus.

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