HPS is found mainly in the Americas (Canada, U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, and others) while HFRS is found mainly in Russia, China, and Korea but may be found in Scandinavia and Western Europe and occasionally in other areas. Like HPS, HFRS results from hantaviruses that are transmitted by rodent urine, droppings, or saliva (rodent bite), by direct contact with the animals, or by aerosolized dust contaminated with rodent urine or feces to human skin breaks or to mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. The vast majority of HPS and HFRS infections are currently not transferred from person to person.
HPS is usually diagnosed presumptively by the patient's lung symptoms, the patient's association with rodents, or the patient's probable contact with rodent-contaminated airborne dust; chest X-rays provide additional evidence, but definitive diagnosis is usually done at a specialized lab or the CDC.
Any man, woman, or child who is around mice or rats that carry harmful hantaviruses can get HPS. You do not have to already be sick to be at risk for HPS. Healthy people have become ill with HPS. People get HPS when they breath in hantaviruses. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain a hantavirus are stirred up into the air.People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. They can also get HPS from a mouse or rat bite.
Statins are effective at lowering cholesterol for people of all ages, are well tolerated and have very few side-effects. Most people who take statins do not notice any effects at all. There are two uncommon side-effects which doctors need to be aware of when prescribing statins. One is an effect on liver enzymes which is usually unnoticed by the patient, but may need monitoring and sometimes withdrawal of the drug. Before starting on statins, the doctor tests the patient's blood to assess liver function and then repeats the test at intervals while the drug is being taken. The second is that statins can occasionally affect the muscles, causing muscle pain or weakness, and leakage of the muscle enzyme creatine kinase into the blood stream. This muscle problem is reversible if the tablets are stopped, but can rarely lead to widespread muscle breakdown (known as rhabdomyolysis) with kidney problems, and very rarely this has caused death. An unacceptable number of cases of muscle problems led to the withdrawal of cerivastatin (Lipobay), but it has only very rarely been a problem with the other approved statin regimens.
To date, no cases of HPS have been reported in the United States in which the virus was transmitted from one person to another. In fact, in a study of health care workers who were exposed to either patients or specimens infected with related types of hantaviruses (which cause a different disease in humans), none of the workers showed evidence of infection or illness.