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What if workers' compensation benefits for hantavirus are denied?

A 22-year-old man who worked at Bodie State Historic Park -- a historical landmark in Mono County -- contracted a rare disease during that time. He was left fighting for his life in a hospital, suspecting that it was caused by exposure to rodents at the facility. Although he can file California workers' compensation benefits claims, proving the illness to be work-related may be challenging.

The man was diagnosed with hantavirus, which is one of the several viruses of a group carried by rodents that can spread it to humans to cause diseases like hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Hantaviruses can become airborne during activities such as cleaning up mouse droppings and urine. When the airborne viruses are inhaled, they cause capillaries in the lungs to break, causing the lungs to be filled with fluids.

Symptoms start with those typical for pneumonia or influenza, such as chills, fever, aching muscles, headaches, abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhea. However, a victim's condition can deteriorate suddenly to become life-threatening. Anyone involved in cleaning out areas where rodents were nesting would be advised to seek medical care promptly if any of the mentioned symptoms are evident.

As happened to the worker at Bodie State Historic Park, others whose jobs involve moving about areas where there are mice, rats or other rodents present may find themselves in similar situations. Any employee considering a workers' compensation claim can benefit from the help of an experienced California workers' compensation attorney. A lawyer can explain the process and provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the pursuit of benefits, including any appeal occasioned by an initial denial of benefits.

Source: sacbee.com, "5 things to know about hantaviruses", Don Sweeney, Accessed on Sept. 9, 2017

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