As the world still struggles to contain and manage the deadly Coronavirus which started in the Wuhan city of China, a report by China’s Global Times indicates that a man has died in Yunnan province of China after testing positive to Hantavirus.
According to the report, the man died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus. Hantavirus immediately became a trend on social media following the report with people panicking that it was another COVID-19 ready to cause a new pandemic.
What exactly is a hantavirus?
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). Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host.
So, unlike coronavirus, hantavirus is not airborne. Humans who contract the hantavirus usually come into contact with rodents that carry the virus. “Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus,” Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website. Although HPS can’t be passed on from person to person, it can be contracted if someone touches their eyes, nose or mouth after touching rodent droppings, urine, or nesting materials.
Credit: CDC, Globaltimesnews, Vanguardngr