Here’s the thing about a link — it can tenuous and ended up breaking. Which is a good thing for a Texas woman whose illness was linked to a rodent-borne disease currently causing a health headache for Yosemite National park after she worked on cleaning up a home for the TV show Hoarders: Buried Alive. In her case, it turns out she’s tested negative for hantavirus. Whew.
Health officials have ruled out the disease after testing three different samples from people who were in the home, all of which came back negative, reports ABC 13 News.
The quarantine on the house that was imposed last Friday over fears that hantavirus was hiding out there was lifted yesterday afternoon. The woman had exhibited symptoms that are a lot like the virus — which are said to be flu-like when they show up — so health officials wanted to be very, very sure that’s not what it was. At that time, she tested positive for the virus through a blood test at the local level, so these state test results are reassuring.
A health official called that earlier result a “false positive” and that the state tests proved all three people were clear of hantavirus. It’s unclear what made the woman ill in the first place.
“The testing process is a bit unchartered territory and it’s constantly being revised based on what we find out from situations like this. There’s a reference range for the test, which below the range is negative and above the range is positive. We send that test, the confirmation to the state lab, or the reference lab, to determine if it’s a ‘true positive’ or a ‘false positive.’ In this situation, that reference lab as come back as a false positive,” the official said.
The hantavirus is not contagious between humans, and can only be contracted by breathing in the feces and urine of infected rodents. Three people who visited Yosemite this summer have been killed by the virus and eight have fallen sick, triggering a worldwide alert for anyone who was at the park in the last three months.