Why is everyone talking about Hantavirus?
This began happening after earlier today, Global Times, one of China's national daily newspapers, reported the death of a man in Yunnan province, who tested positive for Hantavirus. The man was reportedly commuting back home on a chartered bus with 32 others, all of whom were tested right away and declared negative for the virus.
What is Hantavirus?
Contrary to what is being said on social media, Hantavirus is not some 'new virus from China'. In fact, it has been made abundantly clear that neither was SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus).
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines Hantaviruses as a family of viruses which are spread mainly by rodents. People who come in contact with the urine, faeces or saliva of rodents, inhale air contaminated by these secretions or are bitten by an infected host can contract this virus.
It can cause a bunch of health issues in the infected person, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and Haemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).
Symptoms of Hantavirus
Early symptoms of Hantavirus can include headache, muscle pain, fatigue, fever, dizziness, chills and abdominal issues. Eventually, it may escalate to coughing and shortness of breath. Hantavirus can be fatal, and has a mortality rate of 38%.
How is Hantavirus different from Coronavirus?
One of the basic similarities between Coronavirus and Hantavirus is that they're both not airborne diseases. This also leads to the biggest difference between the two—Coronavirus has a human host, which can transmit the infection through droplets that may be released when the host sneezes or coughs. However, in Hantavirus there is no human-to-human transmission.
Should we be panicking as much about Hantavirus?
As long as out rodents problem is under control, no, we need not panic. Hantavirus is not likely to turn into another Coronavirus pandemic that will keep you quarantined in your homes again. It would be prudent to go to useful resources like official government websites or World Health Organisation websites to read up on the Hantavirus before you begin spreading any fake rumours that might induce panic or spew unwarranted hate towards China.
So, people, relax. One virus at a time, okay? For now, let's just stay home, wash our hands and not pet any rats!
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Source: Global Times
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