Rats! Hantavirus: A Case Report of a Suspected Case in Eastern Tennessee

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INTRODUCTION: Hantavirus is an RNA virus that is transmitted to humans by inhalation of aerosolized excrement from infected rodents. This case report demonstrates the value of taking a thorough social history and highlights the challenges associated with early diagnosis of this viral infection. CASE PRESENTATION: We highlight a case of suspected hantavirus infection with subtle gastrointestinal and pulmonary symptoms that challenged the initial diagnosis. DISCUSSION: Efforts are needed to improve clinical recognition and rapid detection of hantavirus infections, to reduce associated mortality. In a patient presenting with gastrointestinal prodromal symptoms followed by cardiopulmonary findings, physicians should pay special attention to that patient's living conditions and maintain a high index of suspicion for hantavirus infection. Early diagnosis is critical to prevent rapid deterioration to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in some patients.