While everyone in the rest of the world is desperately trying to fight the novel coronavirus, China has an alleged new virus, dubbed Hantavirus, that has claimed the life of a man in Shandong Province, along with 32 others who are currently being tested.
The Hantavirus is not a new virus, it’s not the same as COVID-19 caused by novel Coronavirus, it isn’t as communicable as the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Read on to find out more about Hantavirus and not panic unnecessarily.
Origin of Hantavirus:
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Hantavirus is basically a family of viruses that originate from rodents or rats. Every kind of hantavirus is specific to a category of rodent. The disease is spread from rat droppings, urine or their saliva. Humans get infected when they come in close contact with rat filth, which may have the virus.
Effects of Hantavirus:
Hantaviruses are classified into two categories — ‘New World’ hantaviruses and ‘Old World’ hantaviruses. The former are known to cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome — a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease — whereas the latter causes Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, causing severe headache, fever, nausea, blurred vision along with vascular leakage and acute kidney failure.
Kinds of rats that cause Hantavirus:
There are four kinds of rats that usually cause hantavirus — cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus), deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), rice rat (Oryzomys palustris) and white-footed mouse (Peromyscus lecopus).
Due to the small number of HPS cases, the “incubation time” is not positively known. However, on the basis of limited information, it appears that symptoms may develop between 1 and 8 weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.
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.
Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a “…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face” as the lungs fill with fluid.
Is the Disease Fatal?
Yes. HPS can be fatal. It has a mortality rate of 38%.