Dominica waits as health ministers await the results of a preliminary test investigating a suspected case of Hantavirus on the hurricane-torn island.
Dominica was one of several Caribbean islands to suffer massive damage following September’s Hurricane Maria which killed at least 28 inhabitants and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Samples were sent to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, the health ministry said in a statement, cautioning residents that disease is spread by rodents and their excrement, saliva, urine or even nesting material can serve as a conduit for the virus and a risk.
“The disease does not spread from person to person. The mode of transmission of the virus is similar to leptospirosis. Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for the virus exposure,” the statement said.
“The virus can spread through inhalation of aerosolized particles of rat droppings,” the ministry warned.
Health experts explain humans react to the virus with two infections: a hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome both of which can be fatal.
Some of the early symptoms to watch for are fatigue, fever, and muscle aches- particularly among the larger muscles groups. Additional possible symptoms include headaches, dizziness, chills, and digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Good hygiene is the best protection as all necessary steps are being taken by health and government officials to address the issue and prevent any possibility of spreading.