#Health and Hygiene

Hantavirus Is Not A New Virus. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be Worried


While the world is already struggling to cope with the coronavirus, another virus has reportedly killed a man in China. However, there’s no need for you to worry that another pandemic is on its way. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States, hantavirus cases are rare and specifically spread as a result of close contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

Key Takeaways:

  • A man in China, while on his way to Shandong Province, died on a bus. The man is said to have been tested positive for hantavirus. 
  • Hantavirus is mainly spread by rodents and infection with the same can cause a number of hantavirus diseases.
  • Hantavirus is not a new virus, and according to the experts, it is very rarely found to have been transmitted between humans.

Hantavirus Is Not A New Virus

The havoc that coronavirus has created all across the globe is nowhere near end and a virus called hantavirus infected a man in China, and he died. Soon after the news broke out, #Hantavirus started trending on Twitter.

This virus is not new, according to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, United States. This virus actually broke out in May 1993 for the first time in the United States. A number of people died owing to unidentified lung diseases. However, further research showed that the condition was similar to the Sin Nombre virus. By this method, the earliest known confirmed case of hantavirus has been the case of a 38-year-old Utah man in 1959. The virus is most prevalent in China, with around 16,000 to 1,00,000 cases a year, Dr Tania Elliott from NYU Langone Health in Manhattan told MarketWatch.

Also Read: How this lockdown is having unintended benefits for climate

Why Hantavirus Is Not Comparable To Coronavirus

Coronavirus is new, as its name ‘ Novel Coronavirus‘ suggests. Therefore, we do not really know much about this virus. Moreover, it spreads through contact, so even if you come in slight contact with an infected surface or person, you have high chances of being infected. When it comes to hantavirus, CDS experts say that the person to person transmission of the hantavirus is quite unlikely. Every hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via an aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, faeces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host (rodent).

Therefore, for now, you need not worry about its spread or catching it, till the time you stay away from rodents. To date, not even a single case of a person to person transmission of hantavirus has been reported in the United States. In Chile and Argentina, rare cases of person-to-person transmission have occurred among close contacts of a person who is ill with a type of hantavirus called Andes virus.

Should You Be Worried?

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) has a mortality rate of 38 percent. Including all the viruses from the hantavirus family, death occurs in less than one percent to 15 percent affected patients. And these are pretty rare as well. So unless you come in contact with an affected rodent, the chances of you catching the virus are very low. Hence, there’s not really a need to worry about the unfamiliar name in the market- the hantavirus. Practice proper hygiene, keep the handwashing going, avoid contact with rodents, and you’re safe.

Picture Credit- Fossbytes

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown for India: PM says Stay Home, Follow Rules

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