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Woman contracts Hantavirus while cleaning “Hoarders” home

A Texas woman has contracted the Hantavirus at a Houston home that was being prepared for an episode of the popular TLC reality show "Hoarders: Buried Alive." The house is now quarantined after a woman assisting with cleaning the home became ill.

The Hantavirus has been in the news recently after three visitors to Yosemite National Park died earlier this summer after exposure to the virus, carried by rodents and spread to humans by droppings and urine. Humans can contract the virus by breathing air that is contaminated, but it cannot be passed from person to person. The virus causes "hantavirus pulmonary syndrome," which can lead to death.

According to the local health authorities, the house is home to "an extreme case of rodent infestation," with evidence of rodents, mice, snakes and possums in and around the home, likely attracted by the amount of material collected. 29 other people have been warned about the potential risk, and may have been exposed while assisting at the home.

The exposure to this potentially fatal virus is caused by rodents, and as this house has become somewhat of a hub for the creatures, it is possible that other critters in the community are carrying the disease. The people of the community who had volunteered to assist with the clean-up of this house, as well as the crews brought in by the TV network are not the only people who may be exposed. The owners of the house may have serious personal injury or premises liability suits lodged against them as a result of the state of their home.

Source: KHOU, "Hantavirus From "Hoarding: Buried Alive' Home: Woman May Have Contracted Virus While Cleaning Houston House," Sep. 10, 2012

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