WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A man from Yunnan province, positive for hantavirus, died while on a chartered bus heading to his workplace in Shandong province.
- According to experts, ‘hantavirus’ is not a new virus and is rarely transmitted from human to human, but shows symptoms similar to COVID-19.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the virus is spread “after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.” It can also occasionally be transmitted through bites from infected rats.
A passenger, who has tested positive not for coronavirus but hantavirus, died on a bus in China.
Hantavirus is a more fatal viral disease that often results in symptoms very similar with that of COVID-19, according to the state-run media Global Times.
Global Times’ tweet on Monday only identified the victim as a Yunnan resident who was heading to his workplace in Shandong province through a chartered bus. The outlet also said that the 32 other passengers were tested.
With the hantavirus trending, many started to panic again in social media — thinking that there’s a new virus spreading while China is just starting to recover from the severe effects of COVID-19. However, experts quickly raised that hantavirus is not a new virus and hardly spreads through human-to-human contact.
Dr. Sumaiya Shaikh, Swedish scientist, said on Twitter, “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. Please do not panic, unless you plan to eat rats.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that although its death rate is at 38%, hantavirus is rare.
The CDC added that symptoms — which may occur up to eight weeks “after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents” — mirror the signs of the novel coronavirus, such as fever, headache, cough and shortness of breath.
A hantavirus patient equated it with “a tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face,” the CDC shared. This is almost identical with COVID-19 symptoms as how Representative Ben McAdams reported: “it felt like I had a belt around my chest.”
The CDC also noted that hantavirus can also occasionally be transmitted through bites from infected rats or mice.
In 1995, the health organization said that hantavirus pulmonary syndrome became a “nationally notifiable disease” in the US, but there had been no known human-to-human cases.
“In Chile and Argentina, rare cases of person-to-person transmission have occurred” in the case of one strand named Andes virus, the CDC says. The group further warned, “There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection… Therefore, if you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately.”
Hantavirus patients are advised to take intensive care that will help them through the period of severe respiratory distress.
Source: New York Post