24 March 2020 14:40
New virus in China Hantavirus: Rodent control can prevent hantavirus infections (Representational) As the world grapples to fight the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 16,000 globally, China's state-owned newspaper Global Times reported the death of a man who had tested positive for Hantavirus. China has tested 32 other people, who were travelling in the bus with the man, for Hantavirus. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide. The virus can spread to people through contact with urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host, the CDC said. This can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), the CDC website says.
Hantavirus symptoms: A person with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome may experience fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the thighs, hips, backs and sometimes shoulders. They may also get headaches, chills and suffer from dizziness along with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and abdominal pain. The late symptoms appear 4-10 days after the initial phase of the illness which includes coughing and shortness of breath. The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can be fatal with a mortality rate of 38%. The symptoms of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) usually develop within 1 to 2 weeks after exposure to infectious material, but in rare cases, they may take up to 8 weeks to develop. 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. Later hantavirus symptoms can include low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure, which can cause severe fluid overload. Complete recovery can take weeks or months. Death occurs in less than 1% to as many as 15% of patients, CDC says. Hantavirus treatment: The CDC says, there is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection. However, if the infected are recognised early on and are provided medical care in an intensive care unit, they may do better. In intensive care, patients are intubated and given oxygen therapy to help them through the period of severe respiratory distress. Hantavirus prevention: According to the Centers For Disease Control, rodent control is the primary necessity to prevent hantavirus infections. Contact with rodent urine, droppings, saliva, and nesting materials should be avoided when cleaning rodent-infested areas.