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25 March, 2021

Deadly virus caught from mice

Up until recently, the LCM virus, also known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis, had last been c­aught by an American man in 1933, which unfortunately claimed his life. Gulargambone local, Darrell Jordison now has the infamous title of the first person in Australia to ever catch the virus.

Photo via Unsplash

“The virus is spread from rodents, from mice, and one in three mice carry the virus. Obviously we’re experiencing the mice plague out here and we’re doing all we can,” Mr Jordison said.

However, the exact way the bacterial virus got into Mr Jordison’s system is still unclear. This has sparked interest from Westmead medical professionals who are now using Mr Jordison as a case study, as it was originally thought that this virus could not be contracted by humans.

Initially thinking he just had the flu on Sunday (February 15) evening, Mr Jordison awoke on Monday with terrible aches and pains, and was so sore he couldn’t stand up. He was sensitive to light, had a terrible headache and spent the whole day in bed until the pain got too much. An ambulance was called, and Mr Jordison was later told that this was the smartest decision he could have made, as it saved his life.

“I was just unlucky – I had a sore neck and a swollen knee and aches and pains in my back for months and this would have been the virus travelling around and unfortunately it made a home and made it to my brain.”

The doctors at Gilgandra hospital sent Mr Jordison straight to Dubbo, where three doctors and four nurses were waiting for him.

After many tests, cat scans and even a lumbar puncture to take spinal fluid, the doctors were still baffled with how this virus came about. With a regular cell count in your spinal fluid being zero, and a usual virus causing the count to go to around five or 10, Mr Jordison was shocked to hear his cell count was at 200. Counting his blessings and lucky to be alive, Mr Jordison wishes to raise awareness of this usually deadily virus.

“I didn’t even know what meningitis was but once I started researching, I had plenty of time lying in bed for a couple weeks, and it’s quite a serious thing and it’s got a high fatality rate,” Mr Jordison said.

“And what the doctors concerns are now, are that because of the mouse numbers and the way they are, I’m living proof that it can be caught, they did think that the mice carried this virus, but they had never seen a case of the LCM virus in Australia before.

“I just think it’s got to have a bit more exposure and for people to be educated about it.”

Mr Jordison has said that like all households, they have been using traps regularly to control the mice inside their home. “It could be from touching something with urine on it, mouse droppings, a dead mouse, a little bit of fur, it could have been a cut on my finger and picked a dead mouse up and got it like that.

“I’m out of bed now, just this week I’ve been up and walking around and I drive the ute around and see what’s happening on the farm. They did tell me, six to eight weeks possibly to get back to 100 per cent. I’ll be quite happy if its eight weeks.”

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