A Chinese Man Has Died of The Hantavirus Setting Off Fresh Alarm Bells, What Is the Hantavirus? Is It Dangerous? Here’s the Answer!

4What is the hantavirus?

According to the center of Disease Control and prevention, the hantavirus is spread from rodents. If a human is infected it can cause disease as well. In the US such diseases are known as New World diseases and infection from the hantavirus causes what is known as HPS or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. There are other known hantaviruses also existing in Europe and these are known as Old World hantaviruses that can cause haemorrhagic fever with a renal syndrome or HFRS.


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5Caused by specific rodent species

The hantavirus is carried by a specific rodent species and humans get infected by contact with urine, feces, saliva and in rare cases bite from the rodent host. In case you never knew, there is an important -cause-for-concern hantavirus existing in the US called Sin Nombre virus that is spread by the deer mouse. There are other rodents that carry the hantavirus in the US and these are cotton rat, deer mouse, rice rat and white-footed mouse.


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6What is HPS?

HPS can be severe and even fatal if humans infected with hantavirus. However, only those who come in contact with the specific rodents are at risk of the condition. Rodent infestation is also a matter of concern according to the CDC where healthy individuals are at great risk when exposed to the virus.


Fortunately, though there have been no known cases of the disease reported in the United States. Moreover, studies have shown that the disease cannot be transmitted between humans because health workers exposed to infected cases did not acquire the disease. There has only been one known case of human transmission in Chile and Argentina among people in close contact with a person who was infected with different strain of the hantavirus called the Andes Virus.

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7Symptoms of the virus

At a time when the COVID -19 is about to cross the 400,000 mark with almost 16,500 fatalities, the news couldn’t have come at a worse moment. Yet people shouldn’t really worry about it and focus more on preventing and staying healthy from the ongoing coronavirus instead.

For information, the CDC says that the early symptoms of the hantavirus include pain, headache, abdominal pain, dizziness, chills, muscle ache, body ache, vomiting, and diarrhea. Muscle pain may be felt in the thighs, hips, back and shoulders. After 4-10 days, further symptoms like coughing, and shortness of breath will appear including constriction around the chest. The lungs also start filling with fluid. The hantavirus is fatal and the mortality rate is 38%.


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