Deaths From Soda Cans Contaminated With Rat Urine-Fiction!

Deaths From Soda Cans Contaminated With Rat Urine-Fiction!

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Deaths From Soda Cans Contaminated With Rat Urine-Fiction!

 

Summary of eRumor:  
There are several versions of this eRumor.

The first is about a stock clerk at a business in Hawaii mysteriously dies of massive organ failure.  Subsequent investigation reveals that he contracted a virus because of rat or mouse droppings.  The writer of the email talks about another person who died and the Centers for Disease Control concluded that it was from dried rat urine on the top of a soft drink can.  The email references the hantavirus.

The second is about a woman on a boat who drinks from soda cans contaminated with rat urine.
She dies of a different disease called leptospirosis.   The location of the death varies from story to story.

The Truth:

While there are understandable health concerns over rodent urine and droppings, neither of these stories has been substantiated.

There is no record of anyone dying in Hawaii as described.

The Pali Momi medical center is probably a reference to the Kapi‘olani Medical Center at Pali Momi, which is on Oahu, not Maui, so it isn’t likely the victim was “rushed” to a different island for his emergency to be handled.

Additionally, there is not documentation that anyone has died from contamination on a soft drink can and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has no record of the story described.

It’s possible that the story about the stock clerk arises from genuine concern over what is called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, this condition can happen in a human and is usually from the person breathing fresh droppings of deer mice (plus cotton rats and rice rats in the southeastern states and the white-footed mouse in the Northeast).

An outbreak of this condition occurred in 1993 in the Four Corners area of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah from which some otherwise healthy young people died.

The CDC emphasizes that it is not spread by ordinary house mice or common rats.

The condition mentioned in the second eRumor, leptospirosis., is different from the hanta virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, leptospirosis is normally the result of human exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

Updated 6/8/05