Hantavirus: A fatality from the disease in China spreads fear and panic
While the world is in the midst of a coronavirus crisis, scientists are working double-time to find or develop a vaccine or potential cure. However, a report from China reveals the death of a man who was infected with the hantavirus, sparking fears of yet another outbreak.
China’s Global Times, a state-owned publication, reports that a man who tested positive for the hantavirus died on the bus on the way to Shangdong province from Yunnan Monday. Everyone who was on the same bus as the man was tested for the hantavirus afterward, but the details as to whether or not they were also infected were not disclosed. This bears wondering if this is another disease that could potentially affect the world just as badly as the coronavirus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hantavirus is spread through rodents. The virus infects humans through contact with the saliva, urine, excrement, as well as a bite from an infected host. The hantavirus is not contagious and is not airborne, and thus cannot pass from one person to another compared to the coronavirus. This can cause either hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can result in symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and fatigue in the thighs, hips, back, and occasionally in the shoulders. Other symptoms of this kind of hantavirus include chills, headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
As for the hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, severe headaches, fever, back and abdominal pain, chills, nausea, and blurred vision. These symptoms take up to two weeks to show, but there have been cases where it took eight weeks to show.
Compared to the coronavirus, the hantavirus has been around for much longer, and fortunately, it can be treated. Those who suffer from the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome may be placed in intensive care and undergo oxygen therapy to relieve the respiratory discomfort.
As for those who suffer from the hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, patients are placed under observation. Their fluid intake, blood pressure levels, and electrolyte levels are monitored. In the case of fluid overload, they may be placed under dialysis.