A 29-year-old man died in hospital yesterday after possibly contracting the Hanta virus.
Şahin Sasa died at the Zonguldak Karaelmas University and Research Hospital in the Black Sea region, while being treated for possible infection from the Hanta virus.
The death toll due to the virus has now risen to two in Turkey, while another five patients are still being treated in hospital.
The deadly Hanta virus first hit Turkey in February, when 16 people were admitted to hospital with similar symptoms.
Carried by rodents, the virus was first diagnosed by Associate Professor Güven Çelebi from Zonguldak Karaelmas University.
İlyas Bilgin was the first victim to die from the disease in Turkey. Bilgin was infected in a forest when a splinter stuck into his thumb while collecting feed for his cattle. Bilgin had pulled the splinter out with a needle and two week's later his thumb became swollen. Bilgin was taken to hospital with complaints of high fever, nausea and vomiting. His cause of death was multiple organ failure based on kidney failure.
Çelebi held a press conference last Wednesday and released information on the matter.
Occupational groups at risk
Çelebi said the virus is mostly carried by rodents. The virus can infect people in two main ways: consuming food that carries the virus, or breathing in airborne dust form. Rodent bites can also cause infection if the animal is a carrier. For that reason, farmers, dockworkers, miners and foresters are the most at risk.
The incubation period of the disease is one to three weeks, according to Çelebi. Symptoms such as sudden high fever, feeling cold and chilly, weakness, widespread muscle ache, headache, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea occur first. In a short while blood pallet disorders and kidney function disorders are seen, Çelebi said. "The disease may be carried with very minor complaints and can heal itself, or it may result in kidney failure," said Çelebi.
"There is no data on the disease being transmitted between people. However, the disease may infect others through excreta from infected patients like blood or urine contacting the mucous membrane directly. That is why medical personnel should strictly follow protective precautions," said Çelebi.
"There is not a vaccine for the disease," Çelebi said. The most important factor for protection is rodent control at homes and workplaces. People should never attempt to capture the rodents alive since a bite or clawing may result in infection. Çelebi also warned that touching a dead rodent with bare hands was not wise; gloves or tongs should be used. The dead rodents should not be left in the open and must be buried in deep holes. Another important factor for protection from infection is not to leave food and drinks in the open where rodents might reach them. Rodent excrement must be cleaned with laundry bleach. They should not be cleaned with brooms or vacuum cleaners to avoid spreading the dust.