A Houston-area home is under quarantine after a woman tested positive for Hantavirus. The home was recently filmed for an upcoming episode of the TLC television program, Hoarding: Buried Alive.
The woman who became ill was one of 30 people helping to clean the home, located in the Houston suburb of The Woodlands, for the show. She is also reportedly the daughter of the person who was being featured on the show. A second test will confirm if she does, in fact, have the disease.
The quarantine was reportedly necessary, as the clean-up crew was about to rip out carpet from the home, when authorities arrived on the scene on Friday. That would have drastically increased exposure to the virus.
Hantavirus is an extremely deadly disease spread through ingesting or inhaling rodent urine and feces. It is not transmissible between humans. Officials said that only the people helping with the cleanup needed to worry about contracting the disease, but five other people are also being monitored. About 200 books were donated from the house to Friends of the Houston Public Library. All books have been accounted for, but the Baylor College of Medicine's Infectious Diseases Department is also monitoring the five people who handled the books.
Dr. Mark Escott, the county's deputy health authority, said that those who had handled the books were at less risk than those who'd been in the home, the particles, from the home cleanup, would suspend in the air and infect people.
Hantavirus has a 30 to 40 percent mortality rate. People infected may remain without symptoms for up to six weeks. Initial symptoms are flu-like, such as headaches, fevers, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches and can last for three to five days. As the disease progresses, patients have shortness of breath as their lungs fill with fluid. Hospital care is generally required.
Recently, Yosemite virus has had to battle a Hantavirus scare. So far, three people have died after staying in infested cabins. Over 10,000 visitors have been told to watch for symptoms.