KEY POINTS

  • A state-sponsored publication in China reports the death of a  man due to Hantavirus
  • While the Hantavirus may be new to some, the disease has been around for decades
  • Sadly, there is no treatment or vaccine for the Hantavirus, according to CDC

The world is still racing against time to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that stole more than 16,000 lives worldwide. Scientists are still scrambling to find a vaccine to treat the novel coronavirus and stop the spread of infection. Amidst all this chaos, a state-owned publication in China reports the death of a man who had tested positive for Hantavirus.

China’s Global Times shared that a man from Yunnan Province died on a bus while returning to Shangdong Province for work last Monday. All the people on the same bus were tested for the Hantavirus, the report claims. Is this another impending virus outbreak that people all over the world should be alarmed?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hantaviruses are spread by rodents. They can infect people through contact with saliva, urine, feces, and even by a bite of an infected host. The virus can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), says CDC. Unlike the deadly COVID-19, HPS could not pass from person to person. The Hantavirus is not communicable and is not airborne.

A person suffering from HFPS may experience fever, muscle aches, and fatigue, particularly in thighs, hips, back, and sometimes in shoulders. Chills, headaches, and dizziness, along with nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, could also be observed. Shortness of breath and coughing usually appear after the primary phase of the disease, which is usually between 4 to 10 days. 

Meanwhile, a person with HFRS typically develops symptoms within 1 to 2 weeks following exposure to infected material. In some rare cases, symptoms may take up to 8 weeks to surface. ”An infected person may develop sudden intense headaches, back, and abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision. This may be accompanied by flushing of the face, inflammation or redness of the eyes, or a rash.”

While the hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) can be transmitted between people, the chance is extremely rare. The CDC says rodent population control is the main strategy to prevent the spread of infection. The Hantavirus has been around for years, but the CDC says there is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection.

When a person gets infected by Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and got sick, they are placed in intensive care and administered oxygen therapy to relieve respiratory issues. Meanwhile, if the person suffers from Hemorrhagic Fever Renal Syndrome, there is a treatment protocol that subjects the patient to careful observation. The patient’s electrolyte levels, fluid intake, as well as blood pressure levels are carefully monitored.