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Health Highlights: Oct. 19, 2018

First U.S. Case of Rat-Borne Andes Virus Diagnosed: CDC Let the Sun In to Cut Down on Germs: Study

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

First U.S. Case of Rat-Borne Andes Virus Diagnosed: CDC

The first confirmed U.S. case of a virus carried by South American rodents occurred earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Doctors at a Delaware hospital diagnosed Andes virus in a 29-year-old woman in January after she developed fever, malaise and muscle pain. She spent five days in the hospital before recovering and being discharged, CNN reported.

The woman had spent two weeks in the Andes region of Argentina and Chile, where she "stayed in cabins and youth hostels in reportedly poor condition," according to a case study published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Andes virus is a "type of hantavirus (carried by some rats and mice) that is found in rodents in South America," and the virus can spread to people through contact with infected rodents and their droppings, the CDC says.

Early symptoms "can look similar to the flu, and may include: headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea," and can appear four days to six weeks after exposure, according to the agency.

The virus can be transmitted between people, and the CDC identified 53 people in six states who had contact with the woman. None tested positive for the virus, CNN reported.

Andes virus can lead to a fatal respiratory disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, the CDC says. "There is no specific treatment, cure or vaccine" for the syndrome the CDC said.


Let the Sun In to Cut Down on Germs: Study

Lots of sunlight in your home can significantly reduce levels of bacteria that flourish in the dark, a new study says.

Researchers found that about 12 percent of bacteria, on average, were able to reproduce in dark rooms, compared with 6.8 percent in sunlit rooms, and 6.1 percent in rooms exposed to UV light, ABC News reported.

The mix of bacteria found in a building is called its microbiome.

"When designing buildings, we should take into account and understand how the microbiome may be selected, based on the design," study author Ashkaan Fahimipour, a post-doctoral researcher in biology and built environment at the University of Oregon, told ABC News.

"This could actually have an impact on health," Fahimipour added.

The study did not identify bacteria that might harm health. What it shows is that the amount of natural light in a building affects its microbiome, ABC News reported.

The study was published in the Journal of the Microbiome.

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