“FYI, this is an old hoax. See the following links.” She then provided links to Urban legends, hoaxbusters, snopes and several other sites.
There are at least three lessons to be learned here.
First don’t automatically shoot the messenger. Hanta virus does exit and it can be deadly and it is distributed through rat excrement. I forwarded the information in that message without checking for its authenticity because not only did I deem the source credible, but also have two friends (a couple) who contacted some form of virus from cleaning the rat crap from their barn.
However Lesson #2 is…always double check information you receive on the internet before you believe it or pass it on. There is really a lot of crap on the internet! In times past we who published had to spend money (printing and mail). This expense tended to provoke at least a little thought about correctness of form, function and accuracy, before publication. With the internet sending out a thought is all too easy.
My explanations for this error are, as mentioned above. Yet it is still an error and hopefully we can all learn from it. I normally double and triple check information before publishing because experience shows that just Googling a key phrase can give you a batch of hits that all followed one original source and that source may have been wrong.
This is something akin to a bad leader who spews garbage. Just because lots of people follow the leader does not make the garbage stink any less.
Finally, Lesson #3, if you look about you can usually find a good source. In this case I investigated the words “hanta virus” and came up with the web site for disease control which says about this virus.
“Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: What You Need To Know
The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is the primary reservoir of the hantavirus that causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the United States .
Infected rodents shed the virus through urine, droppings, and saliva. HPS is transmitted to humans through a process called aerosolization. Aerosolization occurs when dried materials contaminated by rodent excreta or saliva are disturbed. Humans become infected by breathing in these infectious aerosols.
“HPS in the United States is not known to be transmitted by farm animals, dogs, or cats or from rodents purchased from a pet store.
Anything that puts you in contact with fresh rodent urine, droppings, saliva or nesting materials can place you at risk for infection.
Hantaviruses have been shown to be viable in the environment for 2 to 3 days at normal room temperature. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight kill hantaviruses.
Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection.
Use a bleach solution or household disinfectant to effectively deactivate hanta viruses when cleaning rodent infestations.
“What is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)?
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease caused by hantaviruses. Rodents can transmit hantaviruses through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus.
“Who is at risk of contracting HPS?
Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk of HPS. Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus. Which rodents are known to be carriers of hantavirus that cause HPS in humans?
In the United States , deer mice, cotton and rice rats (in the Southeast), and the white-footed mouse (in the Northeast), are the only known rodent carriers of hantaviruses causing HPS.
“How is HPS transmitted?
Hantavirus is transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Individuals become infected with HPS after breathing fresh aerosolized urine, droppings, saliva, or nesting materials. Transmission can also occur when these materials are directly introduced into broken skin, the nose or the mouth. If a rodent with the virus bites someone, the virus may be spread to that person, but this type of transmission is rare.”
The goal of the Rat Crap message was to say, “be sure to clean the top of your food cans.” The hoax appears to be that it is not very likely to contact this virus from a can.
But let’s go one step further and say “Clean any rodent infestations with a powerful disinfectant”. The CDC recommends bleach, but Clorox or bleach presents its own health problem. We use Ted’s Stuff, an organic bio degradable cleanser. Lab tests show that tow drops is equal to one drop of bleach.
You can learn about Ted’s Stuff from Ted Tidwell at Tedtid7@yahoo.com
Until next message, may all the crap in your life be easily cleaned away!
One thing we love about Ecuador is its unique and colorful nature. Here are two vendors at Otavalo market near our hotel, El Meson de las Flores .
Here is our schedule of Ecuadorian courses for the balance of 2007.
July 17 – July 22, Tues. – Sun. Import-Export Course.
Sept. 26 – 30, Weds. – Sun. Condensed Super Thinking + Spanish with Free Oct
1 – Mon. Andes Extension & Real Estate Tour.
Nov. 9 – 11, Fri. – Sun. International Business & Investing Made EZ.
Nov. 12 – 14, Mon. – Weds. Andes Extension & Real Estate Tour.
Nov. 16 – 18, Fri. – Sun. Andean Shamanic Tour.
You can read the CDC’s comments on hanta virus at http://www.cdc.gov/Ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/noframes/FAQ.htm