A house in Houston has been quarantined after a woman developed a respiratory disease that officials believe was caused by the hantavirus.
According to ABC, the woman was cleaning out the home for a future episode of TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” when she contracted the disease. The woman, who is now recovering in the hospital, tested positive for hantavirus. A second test is underway to confirm the report.
In the meantime, county officials are making sure that the public stays far away from the house. A sheriff’s deputy has been posted outside to make sure that no one else enters the home.
But even with the home under quarantine, Montgomery County Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott said that at least 30 more people may have contracted the disease while working to clean the house over the last two weeks.
“This particular area, it’s an extreme case of rodent infestation . There’s evidence of rodents, mice, snakes, possums in and around the home, which is not unusual in a hoarding situation because there’s so much material.”
The Huffington Post reports that the hantavirus has already been responsible for three deaths at Yosemite National Park this summer. The virus, which has a 40% mortality rate, is carried by rodents.
“Hantavirus is a disease that’s carried by rodents, and when you go through processes like cleaning the home, sweeping, vacuuming, that sort of thing, it goes into the air. The best way to prevent spread of the disease is to control the rodents in the home. If rodents are found in the home, then they need to make sure that they use folks who are licensed to clean homes.”
Escott added that the State Health Department and possibly the CDC could get involved if the woman tests positive for hantavirus.