As the coronavirus outbreak takes the world by storm, a number of other diseases are also rearing their ugly heads. Cases of swine flu and bird flu have recently been reported in India and other countries, and now, a man from China has tested positive for the hantavirus. China’s Global Times tweeted today that the man from Yunnan Province died on a bus while on his way back to Shandong Province. As a safety precaution, all 32 passengers that the infected person traveled with by a bus have been tested for the virus as well. So what is the hantavirus, and should you be concerned?
A person from Yunnan Province died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus on Monday. He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested. pic.twitter.com/SXzBpWmHvW
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 24, 2020
What Is The Hantavirus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hantaviruses are a family of viruses which are spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied diseases in people. It can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).
The disease is not airborne and can only spread to people if they come in contact with urine, feces, and saliva of infected rodents and less frequently by a bite from an infected host.
Symptoms Of Hantavirus
Early symptoms of HPS include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches, along with headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems. If left untreated, it can lead to coughing and shortness of breath and can be fatal, with a mortality rate of 38 percent, according to CDC.
While the initial symptoms of HFRS too remain the same, it can cause low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure. HPS can’t be passed on from person to person, while HFRS transmission between people is extremely rare.
As per the CDC, rodent population control is the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infections.
Should You Be Concerned?
Seeing that this particular virus isn’t airborne, and that you would need to come in contact with an infected animal’s urine, faeces or saliva, then you should be fine. Obviously you’ll want to avoid coming in contact with any type of rodent altogether.
The hantavirus case comes at a time when the total count of those infected by novel coronavirus globally is nearing the 400,000 mark and scientists are yet to find a cure for it. The global death toll has crossed the 16,500 mark.