What is Hantavirus Outbreak? History, Symptoms and Causes

Hantavirus Outbreak Facts

As novel coronavirus has slowed down in China, a local news agency has reported the death of a person by another infectious disease known as Hantavirus.

On Monday, a  person from western Yunnan Province died while travelling in a bus. He was on his way for work in Shandong Province.

The report also added that 32 other passengers of the bus were tested, without further detail.

Unlike coronavirus, Hantavirus in the body leads to fatigue and muscle aches, as well as headaches. The news about this apparently new virus came out when world was already dealing with coronavirus.  China has already dispatched the teams to the Yunnan Province and epidemiological investigation is being conducted.

About Hantavirus Outbreak in China

After recently reported case of Hantavirus in China, Experts are quick to say this was not a new virus an outbreak of unexplained pulmonary illness occurred back in 1950’s. 

It has been reported that an outbreak occurred during Korean War (1950-1953) when 3000 troops of United Nation stationed in Korea were struck with mysterious illness. It was observed at that time that rodents were main epidemiologic vector.  

At that time the outbreak was named Muerto Canyon virus which was later termed as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or HPS.

Later reports also emerged about the outbreak in southwestern United States, in an area shared by Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah known as “The Four Corners”.

What is Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe, respiratory disease caused by infection with Hantavirus in humans.

Hantavirus is a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in human. Anyone who comes in contact with Hantavirus carrier rodent is at a great risk of HPS. Even a rodent infestation in and around the house, puts the residents at risk of  Hantavirus exposure.

How Humans Get infected with Hantavirus

People get infected with Hantavirus mainly because of airborne transmission. When rodents drop the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva the tiny droplets of virus get into the air. The virus gets transmitted to humans easily when they breath in contaminated air.

Humans can get infected by the bite of infected rodent also. There is no history or proof of human-to-human infection transfer.

Symptoms of Hantavirus

The symptoms of Hantavirus observed in patients suffering from Hantavirus includes fatigue, fever and muscle aches in large muscles group like thighs, hips and back. In some cases some  other symptoms have been observed like headaches, dizziness nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. In severe cases the disease can even lead to death These symptoms are not universal and may vary from patient to patient.

The incubation period is usually from 7 days to 14 days in very rear cases showing symptoms as short as 4 days to a month.

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