You may have heard in the news a man in China died from an infection with a virus known as Hantavirus. Yes, you heard different. There is another virus outbreak while we are facing the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Now you might be having questions like what is Hantavirus and what are the symptoms of Hantavirus.
What is Hantavirus? Everything you need to know about Hantavirus
Hantavirus is also known as Orthohantavirus. This is not a new virus and there have been many cases of Hantavirus in the past. The first cases of Hantavirus were reported during the Korean War (1950-1953) among Korean and American soldiers. The infection cases of this virus have been reported from all the continents except Australia. United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Panama, and Chile are some of the countries with the highest cases of Hantavirus. China, Europe, Russia, and Korea have also shown a few cases of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
Hantavirus originates from rodents like rats who are hosts to the virus. The virus is also contained inside the feces and urine of the rodent even in the saliva and if the virus becomes airborne, it can be inhaled by a human and result in infection. The virus can also enter through open wounds and also through bites.
What are the symptoms of Hantavirus?
The symptoms of Hantavirus include fever, muscle aches, which occur mainly in the large muscle groups, for example, the thighs or the back. Fatigue is also a common symptom alongside nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. At a later stage, at around 4 to 10 days of infection, the symptoms of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome may occur which includes coughing, shortness of breath, and fluid filling up the lungs.
What is the treatment of the Hantavirus?
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome has a fatality rate of around 40%. As of now, there’s no vaccination or cure for Hantavirus at this stage except for the management of symptoms. Hospital admission early on results in a better prognosis for the patient. Because with the cases of difficulty in breathing and the lung issues that it causes having access to oxygen and a ventilator really assists with respiratory distress.
What should you keep in mind about Hantavirus amid Coronavirus outbreak?
But one important thing to remember is that there’s no human to human transmission of Hantavirus at this stage. The main passage of infection is breathing in the infected feces particles when floating around in the air or rodent bites and eating foods that are contaminated with rodent droppings. Those who are at risk of Hantavirus are those who have infested houses campus or people living near forest areas. People in close proximity to the rodent population in their day-to-day lives may also have the risk of getting infected by Hantavirus.