Even as the coronavirus pandemic keeps spreading,several other diseases are also rearing their ugly heads.Many cases of swine flu and bird flu have been reported in our country andother countries also. Recently, China has reported a death due to a new viruscalled Hantavirus.
On March 22 a man from China's Yunnan province tested positive for the virus and died on his way back to Shandong Province. Apart from him, another 32 people also tested positive according to the Global Times Report.
The news caused much consternation online, and Global Time's original tweet has been shared thousands of times. Soon this virusstarted making it to the top twitter trends and a lot of misinformation is circulating.
But is it something we need to be worried about? Hereare the facts:
Let's start with what exactly is the Hantavirus and isit as deadly as coronavirus?
First, know that Hantaviruses are not new and havebeen around for a while. For one, this virus is transmitted to another personwhen he breathes in infected rodents' droppings, saliva or urine.
The Centre for Disease Control says that theHantavirus is spread mainly from rodents. It goes on to say that infection withany of the hantavirus can cause hantavirus disease in people. The hantavirusesare a family of viruses that spreads in rodents and to humans from rodents.
It inhales and reaches the lungs where it wreakshavoc. It starts to invade tiny blood vessels known as capillaries, eventuallycausing them to leak. The lungs then flood with fluid that can trigger any ofthe respiratory issues related to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
Also, Hantavirus is not native or restricted to China.There have been outbreaks in the north as well as South America and Korea.
The Hantavirus named after the Hanta River areas in South Korea where an outbreak was observed first time in the 70s have been reported on all continents except Australia.
Over 150,000 cases are believed to occur annually onthe global level. It is according to the guidance of the UK government that ithas not been updated in nearly 12 years. It provides an idea of the lack ofthreat we are dealing with.
Early Hanta signs and symptoms start about one to five weeks after the person contacts hantavirus related to rodent urine, feces, orsaliva. The early symptoms of this virus include flu-like, last about four to10 days, and include:
Fever, and muscle aches, especially large muscles inthe legs, back, and hips
Every symptom can cause diagnostic confusion.
Late symptoms of Hantavirus occur about for 10 daysafter the early symptoms include:
Chest pain, and
Shortness of breath that can be become severe
Medical experts say that around 15-20 percent of deermice are infected with Hantavirus, but this is rare for humans to contract thediseases, mainly because the virus dies shortly after contact with sunlight,and it cannot spread from one person to another.
Each Hantavirus serotype holds a different rodent hostspecies and is spread to people through an aerosolized virus, which is shed inurine, feces, and saliva, and less quickly by a bite from an infected host.
The Mayo Clinic states that the treatment forHantavirus is limited but early prognosis and hospitalization enhance changes.
Hantavirus is not likely to be the next globalpandemic. It has not been recorded for years and is not a very new phenomenon;a single human death from the virus does not cause concern, and hardconstitutes an outbreak.
If you want to take some safety measures whilepracticing social distancing and washing your hands to avoid Covid-19, there aresteps you can take to avoid contracting hantavirus.
Simple hygiene precautions like washing your hands after handling rats or their bedding and cage need to be applied.
The most effective method to prevent, tackle ofrodent's issues, or wear respirators.
In a nutshell, although the symptoms of the hantavirusare like that of coronavirus, it is mainly transmitted from rodents to humansand there is little evidence to prove that it can be transmitted by humans tohumans just like coronavirus.