Hantavirus has caused fear among people as one man from China was confirmed to have died from the virus. This virus is, however, not new to the world. There was an outbreak of hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in 1993 in the United States. There are no cases of hantavirus in South Africa or any other country at the moment.
The hantavirus case has been reported before the world can find a solution to Covid-19, which is now a global pandemic. Is hantavirus a dangerous disease? Read on to find out!
Hantavirus was first experienced in the United States in 1993 after the death of individuals infected was reported in The Four Corners region. This area is bordered by New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. The first people with the ailment died very first after experiencing acute respiratory failure. Research that was carried out after the outbreak found out that the mysterious illness had killed several people before who had experienced the same symptoms.
Hantavirus in China
Could this be another global pandemic before the world can find the cure to the infectious Covid-19? China confirmed that one person died from hantavirus in Shaanxi, Northwest China, on Monday, 23rd March 2020. The hantavirus nucleic acid test on the individual came out positive, while the Covid-19 test was negative. The man was going to Shandong Province on a chartered bus when he fell ill.
The incident has caused fear among people, as seen by their reaction on social media platforms like Twitter. This incident comes after more than 17,000 people have died from Covid-19 from more than 392,000 cases reported worldwide.
What is hantavirus?
Hantavirus is a group of RNA that carries viruses and is usually carried by rodents. The virus can lead to fatal respiratory infections, mainly the (HPS) Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or the HFRS (High Fever with Renal Syndrome).
What causes hantavirus?
Medical scientists have confirmed that rodents are the ones responsible for the transmission of the virus. It is found in mouse poop (including rat droppings and mouse droppings), rodent urine, rodent saliva (through biting), coming into direct contact with the creatures. Extensive research that was carried out by medical scientists after the outbreak of the virus in the United States showed that the deer mouse (a type of rodent) was the primary carrier of hantavirus. The deer mouse is known for living near human beings and sometimes inside homes. It is also essential to note that the rodent is a carrier of the virus and is not affected by it.
Individuals can get the virus in several ways, as outlined.
- If you touch droppings, urine, or saliva from an infected rodent and then touch your mouth or nose with unwashed or unsanitized hands.
- Eating food that is contaminated with the droppings, saliva, or urine of a rodent infected with the virus.
- Breathing in particles that contain the virus, for example, dust.
It is also essential to remember that hantavirus is not transmitted from one person to another, and it is not airborne.
Patients will start showing signs after between one to eight weeks after being exposed to the virus. There are early symptoms as well as late symptoms of the disease.
Early symptoms of hantavirus
Early signs of the virus may not be effective in telling if a person is infected with the virus since they are similar to those shown by patients suffering from influenza. The signs include:
- Muscle aching
- Abdominal pains
Late symptoms of hantavirus
A patient will get these signs after four to ten days after the first phase of the virus. The following signs characterize this phase.
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Reduced blood efficiency
There is no known treatment, vaccine, or cure for the virus at the moment. Patients with hantavirus are given medical attention under the intensive care unit. Patients that seek medical attention early have high chances of recovering. Late diagnosis may not result in successful recovery because the patients die very fast. You can get early treatment by seeing a doctor as soon as you get flu-like symptoms and know that you live or have been in areas infested by rodents.
Prevention is the best way to avoid getting the virus. You should observe the following to stay safe.
- Make sure there is no rodent infestation in your house by sealing holes that can be potential rodent habitats.
- Remove clutter and all unnecessary items lying around the house and outside your home because mice and rats can live there.
- Avoid leaving food in the open as it attracts mice and rats into the home.
- Wash your hands with soap and running water before you can touch your face or eating to avoid contracting the disease.
- Avoid areas with a lot of flying dust as you may breathe particles contaminated by hantavirus. Ensure that you sprinkle water on dusty surfaces before sweeping.
Find out answers to the frequently asked questions about hantavirus.
What are the first symptoms of hantavirus?
An individual will in most cases show the symptoms of influenza, such as headache, fever, fatigue, muscle ache, and diarrhea.
How long can you live with hantavirus?
The first symptoms are experienced after one to eight weeks of being infected. The late phase comes after four to ten days after the initial phase.
How dangerous is hantavirus?
If a person seeks medical attention after experiencing early flu-like signs, they have high chances of recovery. The virus kills quickly if it reaches the late phase, which is characterized by difficulty in breathing.
Is the hantavirus curable?
The virus does not have a cure, but patients recover when placed under supervised medical care. Patients that recover from the virus do not get any negative side effects later. They get healed completely.
People who are at risk of getting hantavirus are the ones that live in places with mice and rat infestation since some of them are likely to be carriers of the ailment. You, therefore, need to ensure that rats and mice do not find a place to live around your place of residence. There are no infections from one individual to another and the illness is not airborne.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!