The hanta virus is not a new foe to humanity. This mysterious and sometimes fatal disease has plagued humanity for over 1000 years. This virus, most likely originating in China over 1000 years ago, is transmitted by human contact with mice. Only relatively recently has the hanta virus captured the attention of the United States. Although the hanta virus has been known for such a long time, there is little known about the virus. In the United States most cases are found in the southwestern part of the country, although cases have been reported from all four corners of the country. Recently, there have been successful tests done on prospective vaccines for the hanta virus. Despite this, strains of the hanta virus kill many people a year for lack of an effective medicine or vaccine (www.pharminfo.com).
The hanta virus can be found in the North America, South America, Europe and Asia. In North America, most cases are found in the United States (www.pharminfo.com). Most of the cases of hanta virus in the United States occur in the "Four Corners" region. This is a reference to the area in which Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet. As of March 17, 1997, there were 26 states that had confirmed cases of the hanta virus (www.bepestfree.com). In South America, cases can be found in Argentina (www.latinolink.com). The European cases mostly originated in Scandinavia, western Europe and the Balkan mountains. The strain of the hanta virus found here is comparatively mild symptoms. In Asia, the hanta virus is primarily found in China, Korea and the eastern part of the former Soviet Union. The symptoms of this strain of the hanta virus are more severe (www.pharminfo.com). There are, as of March 1997, four different strains of the hanta virus that have been identified (www.bepestfree.com).
The hanta virus is usually transmitted by a species of mice commonly known as deer mice, or Peromyscus maniculatis. The mice are described as having "brownish-gray fur, a white stomach and disproportionately large ears" (www.slac.stanford.edu). An infected mouse can spread the hanta virus if a human comes in contact with its urine, feces, saliva or dead body. Inhalation of the dust or tiny particles that spread into the air when any of the above are touched...
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...elp people who have contracted the hanta virus survive the ordeal. The drug is currently being tested in 45 centers throughout the United States, for patients thought to have been infected with the hanta virus (www.pharminfo.com).
The hanta virus has become a growing threat in the United States. Although the number of cases of hanta virus in the United States has dropped since 1993, much research must be done on this deadly rodent borne virus (www.nmsu.edu). Not enough information about the deer mice that carries this disease has been obtained, although this is being remedied. As with all deadly viral infections, the main goal is prevention. A vaccine is being researched, however this break through may not occur in the near future. Right now, alleviating the symptoms of the hanta virus is an obtainable goal. Although neither of the two drugs mentioned herein are in general use, they may become standard weapons in the war against the hanta virus. A big step towards preventing hanta virus infection is to be careful around any sort of mouse or mice feces. Simply taking the steps mentioned in this report could reduce the risk of people contracting the hanta virus and possibly dying.
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