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Liability claim based on rare virus shuts down ‘Hoarding’ filming

Television shows that look into the real lives of individuals struggling with uncommon illnesses or disabilities are often the topic of TLC network shows. They allow viewers a rare look into the lives of these people. “Hoarding: Buried Alive” is a popular show that looks into the lives of those who are struggling with the disease that causes them to keep an inordinate amount of items in their homes.

Many of these people are dealing with very serious emotional or mental issues, but their behavior could put those that they invite onto their property at serious risk for injury. The most common premises liability claim from homes such involving hoarding is a slip-and-fall claim. The amount of items scattered around the home make it very difficult to safely navigate the property, but this is certainly not the only kind of injury. The filming of an episode recently came to a halting stop when it was determined that one of the volunteers had possibly contracted the dangerous Hantavirus.

The home that was being featured in the episode was one that involved not only an unusually large collection of items, but a serious hygiene problem as well. The garbage collecting in the home led to an extreme infestation of rodents. The rodents in the home included mice, snakes and even possums. The woman allegedly contracted the virus while cleaning out the material in the home.

The young woman had begun feeling unusual symptoms, prompting her to go to the local hospital. She initially tested positive for the virus, and a second test was taken to confirm the existence. It is unclear what the results of the second test were. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the woman did not need to be bitten to contract the virus. She could have simply breathed in air that had been contaminated by the virus-ridden droppings and urine of the animals. There were 29 other individuals who were helping clean the home. Each of these people were notified of the risk of infection, but it is unclear whether any other cases have been found.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Hantavirus From ‘Hoarding: Buried Alive’ Home: Woman May Have Contracted Virus While Cleaning Houston House,” Sept. 10, 2012

Have you contracted an illness on a privately owned property? Wonder if you have a premises liability claim in New Jersey? Our website provides more information.

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