While the world is reeling with coronavirus pandemic and still trying to figure out its cure, China has reported death from hantavirus. According to the Global Times, China’s national English daily, the person died while he was on a chartered bus travelling to Shandong Province for work.
The deceased tested positive of hantavirus and the other 32 people on board were also tested because of the death. The reported death due to hantavirus has sent shock waves around the world as people have started wondering about it and the virus has already become a talking point on social media.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) which is a serious respiratory disease and often deadly. The virus can be traced back to May 1993 when an unexplained pulmonary illness occurred in the southwestern United States.
The deer mouse is the primary carrier of the virus but health experts suggest to avoid all wild rodents since the identification of types of mice is difficult. Anyone can be infected with hantavirus if exposed to rodent urine, saliva, or droppings or by touching mouth or nose after handling contaminated materials. However, unlike coronavirus, no human to human transmission of hantavirus has been reported.
The symptoms of hantavirus infection are generally headache, joint and lower back pain, nausea and vomiting. The primary symptom is difficulty in breathing, which is caused by fluid build-up in the lungs, and which quickly progresses to an inability to breathe. The symptoms of HPS usually appear within 2-4 weeks of exposure but it can appear as early as 1 week or as late as 6 weeks after infection. There has not been any specific cure for hantavirus infection but if the disease is recognised at the early stage, the patient can get better by receiving medical care in an intensive care unit (ICU).