At present, when the whole world is facing Coronavirus outbreak people have become even more scared after hearing news of death by hantavirus in China. A passenger who died on a bus in China has tested positive for a completely different virus than Corona — one more fatal that often produces very similar symptoms, according to state-run media. Hearing this news have made people feel even more insecure.
Hantavirus has greater fatality rate than the coronavirus and social medias are only focusing on this particular thing. Greater fatality rate doesn’t necessarily make the virus more dangerous. In this post, you are going to find out everything about hantavirus, its symptoms, transmission, preventive measures. After you complete reading you will know if we really are going to face another pandemic or not.
What is Hantavirus?
According to CDC, hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide. Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people. Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Other hantaviruses, known as “Old World” hantaviruses, are found mostly in Europe and Asia and may cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).
How does hantavirus transmit?
Hantaviruses are transmitted from rodents. Rodents are the gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives, distinguished by strong constantly growing incisors and no canine teeth.
The rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. The virus is especially transmitted to people once they inhale air contaminated with the virus. People can also get infected if the rodent with the virus bites them,however, this type of transmission is rare. Similarly, transmission can occur by touching things that have been contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva, and then touching our nose or mouth. Likewise, eating food contaminated with rodent urine,droppings or saliva is likely to transmit the virus.
One thing to be noted is that human to human transmission is very rare. In Chile and Argentina, rare cases of person-to-person transmission have occurred among close contacts of a person who was ill with a type of hantavirus called Andes virus.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome(HPS) is a disease caused by hantavirus. The symptoms may appear between 1and 8 weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.
Early symptoms include:
- Muscle Pain
- Stomach problems
Late symptoms occur after 4 to 10 days after the initial phase of illness. Late symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Lungs filled with fluid
HPS is indeed fatal as it has mortality rate of 38%.
Since you already know the ways of transmission from above I think you already have few ideas about things we can do for preventions. Some preventive measures are:
- Minimize contact with rodents at your home and workplace.
- Seal up holes and gaps in your home or garage. Place traps in and around your home to decrease rodent infestation.
- Sanitation is the most important thing. Always try to keep your home and workplace clean and free from rodents.
- Take precautions before and while cleaning rodent-infested areas.
There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection. However, we do know that if infected individuals are recognized early and receive medical aid in an intensive care unit, they’ll do better. In intensive care, patients are incubated and given oxygen therapy to assist them through the period of severe respiratory distress.
The earlier the patient is brought in to medical care , the better. If a patient is experiencing full distress, it’s less likely the treatment are going to be effective.
Therefore, if you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately. make sure to inform your doctor that you simply are around rodents—this will alert your physician to look closely for any rodent-carried disease, like HPS.
Hantavirus indeed has higher fatality rate than the coronavirus. However, this virus hardly transmits from one person to another. Therefore, hantavirus is less likely to affect large number of people at a time and become a pandemic like coronavirus. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that this virus can be ignored. Preventive measures as explained above should be applied to be safe.
In a nutshell, hantavirus is less likely to be a pandemic. When the world is busy struggling with coronavirus one shouldnot create panic by sharing misleading informations about hantavirus. Let’s be smarter at using the internet and social medias.