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In time of deadly diseases, the best thing to do is educate yourself and not panic.
A man from Yunnan Province in China died while on a chartered bus on his way back to Shandong Province for work. Chinese state-run Global Times reported he tested positive for Hantavirus. Thirty-two other people on the bus were tested.
What is Hantavirus?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by infection with hantaviruses— a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents.
How do people get hantavirus infection?
The rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. The virus is mainly transmitted to people when they breathe in air contaminated with the virus.
Other ways rodents may spread hantavirus to people:
If a rodent with the virus bites someone, the virus may be spread to that person, but this type of transmission is rare.
Scientists believe that people may be able to get the virus if they touch something that has been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva, and then touch their nose or mouth.
Scientists also suspect people can become sick if they eat food contaminated by urine, droppings, or saliva from an infected rodent.
Can hantavirus be transmitted from person-to-person?
The hantaviruses that cause human illness in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another. However, in Chile and Argentina, rare cases of person-to-person transmission have occurred among close contacts of a person who was ill with a type of hantavirus called Andes virus.
Who is at risk?
Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk of HPS. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus and infection only occurs when a person breathes in virus particles.
What are the symptoms of hantavirus infection?
On the basis of limited information, CDC said symptoms may develop between 1 and 8 weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.
Early symptoms include: fatigue, fever and muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems.
Late symptoms may include: coughing and shortness of breath due to lungs fill with fluid.
Is hantavirus fatal?
CDC notes a 38% mortality rate. It is fatal.
Is there a cure for HPS?
There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection. However, patients may be put to intensive care where patients are intubated and given oxygen therapy to help them through a period of severe respiratory distress. The earlier the patient is brought in to intensive care, the better.
How to prevent hantavirus?
The main factor of this disease is having rodents in your home, workplace, or campsite. Eliminating or minimizing contact with rodents is the best way to prevent hantavirus.
Seal up holes and gaps in your home or garage. Place traps in and around your home to decrease rodent infestation. Clean up any easy-to-get food.
Is hantavirus from China?
While the man who died recently was from China, hantavirus didn’t actually originate in the region.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, ‘the etiologic agent of Korean Hemerologic fever was isolated from small infected field rodent Apodemus agrarius near Hantan river in South Korea.’
The virus was named as Hantaan virus, after the name of the river Hantan.
There is no need to panic because of the hantavirus. Moreso, times of deadly pandemics like the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the best thing to do is remain calm and read information from reliable sources.