Hantavirus: What is it and why it is trending?

The rodent-associated Hantavirus is creating worldwide panic.
The rodent-associated Hantavirus is creating worldwide panic.
Image: 123rf/Peter Hermes Furian

The global community is reeling as the effects of the coronavirus continue to have devastating impacts. Just as countries prepare for lockdowns in an effort to curb the spread of the disease,  another virus  is creating worldwide worry. 

On Tuesday, Global Times reported that a man in Southwest China died from the rodent-associated hantavirus.

The man was reportedly commuting on a bus with 32 others, all of whom were tested immediately and declared negative.

What is hantavirus?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hantavirus is not new. It is a family of viruses that are spread mainly by rodents.

The virus is mainly transmitted to people when they breathe in air contaminated with the virus or are bitten by an infected host.

The virus can cause a number of health issues, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and Haemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle group, including thighs, hips, back and, sometimes, shoulders.

 headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and pain. 

The virus is deadly and has a mortality rate of 38%.

Social media

 The hashtag #Hantavirus immediately topped trends lists.

Here is a snapshot of the reactions:

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