China reports Hantavirus infection

There are rare cases of human transmission from Hantavirus

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 24 March 2020

Reports have emerged of another virus surfacing in China, at a time when the country was on a path to recovery from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The virus — termed the Hantavirus — claimed the life of a man in south west China’s Yunnan province on March 23, 2020, according to a report in Chinese news daily Global Times.

Authorities also screened 32 co-passengers of the bus he was travelling on. The results of the testing were awaited.

There are, however, very rare cases of human transmission from the Hantavirus.

The Hantavirus comes from a family of viruses that spreads mainly from rodents and can cause a range of diseases, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Infection with any Hantavirus can produce disease in people,” according to the CDC.

The virus can emerge from the rodent’s feces, urine or saliva and can travel through air. Humans can become infected if they are bitten by an infected animal, according to the CDC.

The symptoms of the infection are fatigue, muscle ache and fever.

The muscle ache appears particularly in thighs, hips, back and also in shoulders.

The affected person can also experience stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and headache.

In more serious cases, it can lead to kidney failure and lung disease.

The mortality rate from a Hantavirus infection is between five and 15 per cent, according to the Robert Koch institute (RKI)

There is no known treatment or vaccine for the virus, according to RKI. Doctors can treat a patient’s symptoms at best. The best way to remain protected from an infection is to avoid contact with infected animals, since it cannot be transmitted between humans.

The disease was officially reported in May 1993, when a physically fit young man in the US’ New Mexico died.

He had suffered from a shortness of breath and was rushed to hospital where he died. This pulmonary insufficiency was later termed the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.

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