For a world scared out of its wits by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, reports of a death in China due to a different kind of virus called 'Hantavirus' couldn't have come at a worse time.
On March 22 a man from China'sYunnan province tested positive for the virus and died on his way back to Shandong Province. Apart from him, another 32 people also tested positive, as per a Global Times report.
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Soon Hantavirus started making it to the top twitter trends and a lot of misinformation begin circulating.
So what exactly is the Hantavirus and is it as deadly as coronavirus?
No. Hantaviruses are not new and have been around for a while. For one, it is transmitted to people when they breathe in infected rodents' droppings, urine or saliva.
The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) states that the Hantavirus is a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents.
The virus is inhaled and reaches the lungs where it wreaks havoc. It begins to invade tiny blood vessels called capillaries, eventually causing them to leak. The lungs then flood with fluid, which can trigger any of the respiratory problems associated with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
Also, the disease is not native or restricted to China. There have been outbreaks in both north and south America and Korea, as per the CDC.
Notably, the North American outbreak strain was not contagious too other people, while the South American one was. Which means various strains of the Hantavirus exists.
According to MayoClinic.org, the Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome advances through two distinct stages -- the first is characterised by flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, headaches and muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. In this early stage, Hantavirus is difficult to distinguish from influenza, pneumonia or other viral conditions.
But after four to 10 days, more serious signs and symptoms such as a cough that produces secretions, shortness of breath, fluid accumulation within the lungs, low blood pressure, and reduced heart efficiency.
The MayoClinic blog further states that treatment for Hantavirus is limited but early prognosis and hospitalization improves chances.
The best method would be prevention, tackling of rodents problem, or wearing respirators.In a nutshell, while the symptoms of the hantavirus are almost similar to that of coronavirus, it is essentially transmitted from rodents to humans and there is little evidence to prove it is transmitted by humans to humans like coronavirus.
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