Hantavirus from China Shakes the Public, How Dangerous?
When the world was busy eradicating the Covid-19 pandemic, another virus from China named hantavirus now caused new concerns.
According to reports from the Chinese province of Yunnan, a man died a few days after he tested positive for hantavirus. He was infected after traveling back to Shandong Province to work, according to a tweet from the China Global Times.
At present, 32 people who are on the bus are also tested, but their test results are not precise.
The news has caused some panic on social media when people speculate about the origin of the virus. Then draw a parallel with the coronavirus, which has the first case in Wuhan, China.
But as loaded health24, hantavirus is not like the new coronavirus or what we often call Covid-19. Let’s look at the facts.
What is hantavirus?
Hantavirus is a virus that is spread by mice. There are several types of hantavirus, which can cause a disease known as Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a respiratory illness that starts with flu-like symptoms.
Hantavirus only spreads through mice to humans and cannot spread from human to human.
Therefore, sufferers get sick because the virus directly from small particles such as rat droppings, urine, or saliva can be inhaled, or when you directly hold the mouse with your bare hands and then touch your face and nose.
The World Health Organization says cases of human hantavirus infection usually occur in rural areas, forests, fields, and farms where there are many sylvatic rats that contain the virus.
Humans can also be infected with hantavirus when bitten by rats. The following activities can put people at risk of HPS:
- Lack of hygiene so that there are a lot of fleas and nests of mice.
- Leave any warehouse, cabin, garage, or building closed for a long time.
- Works in areas where there may be rat infestation, such as rice barns.
Therefore it is best to avoid the risk by wearing a protective mask when cleaning the rat’s nest and dirt with a broom to prevent breathing particles that are stirred into the air.
What are the symptoms of HPS?
When you get infected with hantavirus, you may experience:
- Fever and chills
- Headaches and body aches
- Stomach cramps
- After ten days, fluid may begin to form in the lungs, which can cause fatal respiratory failure.