Hantavirus: What is Hantavirus and How does it spread?

Amid the chaos in the world due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, a man in China died due to the Hantavirus,a disease spread by rodents and it is reported that 32 other people who were traveling with him on his way back to the eastern Shandong province for work on a chartered bus are also tested positive for Hantavirus.

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Hantavirus is not new to mankind. The virus causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). This virus spreads from rodents to humans if a person comes in direct contact with the urine, faeces, and saliva of rodents.

How people get infected with Hantavirus?

There are several other ways rodents may spread hantavirus to people. The following information is given by the Centre of Disease Control on its official website cdc.gov, on spread on Hantavirus to humans:

  • If a rodent (a mouse) carrying the Hantavirus bites someone, the virus may be spread to that person, but this type of transmission is rare.
  • 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.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Infection with Hantavirus?

As per the data on the CDC’s website, early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

CDC also states that the HPS disease can be fatal and has a mortality rate of 38%.

Apparently as rodents cause Hantavirus spread, the best way to stay safe from this infection is to get rid of mice from your home.

There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection.