Hantavirus: The disturbing way new deadly virus in China is spreading
A man travelling on a bus who died has tested positive for hantavirus, a completely different virus to COVID-19 which is currently sweeping the globe, according to reports. Other passengers have since been tested for hantavirus.
The unidentified victim, who is thought to be from Yunnan province, was travelling to work when he died, the state-run Global Times announced in a tweet on Monday.
The publication wrote: “He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested.”
It added two people who were travelling with the worker who displayed symptoms of fever had been submitted for testing.
The worker was from the city of Lincang – where authorities have now began to monitor and screen for the disease.
An epidemiological investigation has also been opened.
According to the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hantaviruses are a family of viruses which are spread mainly by rodents.
They can cause varied diseases in people, for example, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).
It is not an airborne disease and can only spread to people if they come into contact with urine, faces, and the saliva of rodents.
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Less frequently is the disease spread by a bit from an infected host.
Early symptoms of the hantavirus include fatigue, fever, and muscle aches, along with headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems.
If left untreated, it can lead to coughing and shortness of breath and can be fatal, with a mortality rate of 38 percent, according to the CDC.
While the initial symptoms of HFRS remain the same, it can cause low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure.
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Transmission of HFRS between people is extremely rare, while HPS cannot be passed from person-to-person.
According to The Independent, misleading messages about hantavirus have quickly circulated on WhatsApp and elsewhere.
The texts make reference to the rise of hantavirus and warn that the world could be in danger of another COVID-19 style outbreak.
But, the warnings are overexagerated, claim the publication.
Hantavirus is nowhere near as dangerous as coronavirus.
And, hantavirus is in fact not new, having been known about for decades and potentially active for even longer.
It first emerged in the 1950s in the American-Korean war in Koren, according to Swedish scientist Dr Sumaiya Shaikh,
She wrote in a tweet: “The #Hantavirus first emerged in 1950s in the American-Korean war in Korea (Hantan river).
“It spreads from rat/mice if humans ingest their body fluids. Human-human transmission is rare.”
The WhatsApp messages often make explicit reference to hantavirus following in the steps of COVID-19.
One message seen by The Independent read: “When the whole world is still suffering from Covid-19, here comes another virus.”
The initial tweet of the hantavirus from the Global Times has now been shared nearly 15,000 times on Twitter.
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