STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — State health officials are investigating a case of the potentially deadly hantavirus contracted by a Long Island man.
Michael Vaughan of Stony Brook said he was bit by a mouse in August during a camping trip in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid, N.Y.
“I woke up with a pain in my finger and I looked at it and there was a little bit of blood under my fingernail and I said, ‘Oh, a mouse must’ve bitten me,'” Vaughan said.
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The 72-year-old said he became ill last month and spent four days in intensive care at Stony Brook University Hospital.
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Doctors diagnosed Vaughan with hantavirus, which is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents.
Samples have been sent to state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for confirmation. Results are expected next week.
Symptoms of hantavirus include high fever, muscle aches, coughing and headache — which may appear between one and five weeks after exposure to the virus.
Health officials said the best way to prevent exposure to hantavirus is to avoid contact with rodent droppings or urine, prevent infestation in the home and set traps inside empty containers to prevent contact with possibly contaminated materials.
The disease is fatal in 38 percent of all cases. Health officials said the virus was first identified in the Southwest in 1993.
Vaughan, a research geophysicist at Stony Brook University, has since recovered and is back hiking.
Nine people who visited Yosemite National Park this summer were infected by hantavirus. Three later died.
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