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Home / World News / Symptoms, fatality, outbreak: All you need to know about hantavirus

Symptoms, fatality, outbreak: All you need to know about hantavirus

The hantavirus report came as China is currently grappling with coronavirus which has resulted in the death of more than 3,000 people in the country.

world Updated: Mar 25, 2020 09:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A man died in China after contracting the hantavirus. Here, the picture shows Sin Nombre hantavirus particle.
A man died in China after contracting the hantavirus. Here, the picture shows Sin Nombre hantavirus particle.(Picture courtesy: CDC)

A man in China died after contracting the hantavirus on Monday. He was on his way back to the eastern Shandong province for work on a chartered bus, reports in Chinese media said.

The other 32 people present in the bus were also tested.

So, what is hantavirus?

Hantavirus belongs to a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute of the United States.

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 haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

How does the hantavirus spread?

“Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, faeces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host,” the CDC said.

So far, the transmission of hantavirus in the US has not transferred from human-to-human contact.

What are the symptoms?

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups - thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath.

Is it a new virus?

According to the CDC, hantavirus disease surveillance in the United States began in 1993 during an outbreak of severe respiratory illness in the “Four Corners” region in the southwestern US, in an area shared by Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. The HPS became a nationally notifiable disease in 1995.

On November 1, 2012 the National Park Service (NPS) in the US announced a total of 10 confirmed cases of hantavirus infection in people who recently visited Yosemite National Park.

Is the disease caused by hantavirus fatal?

Yes. According to CDC, the mortality rate of HPS if 38 per cent.

The hantavirus report came as China is currently grappling with coronavirus which has resulted in the death of 3,277 people in the country, mostly in its epicentre Hubei province and its capital Wuhan.