Man In China Tests Positive For Hantavirus, Worrying Experts Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
A man in China died Monday after contracting hantavirus. The man was traveling from his home in Yunnan Province, southwest China, to Shandong Province in the east, the Global Times reported.
He was tested positive for the virus after he had passed away. Though the virus is rarely transmitted from human to human, 32 people onboard the same bus as him were screened for the virus.
Hantaviruses are typically passed on through airborne particles from a rodent, so an animal’s urine, feces or saliva could travel in the air and infect someone. It is also believed that the virus can be contracted if a person touches their mouth after touching a surface contaminated with the virus. In rare instances, the virus can be transmitted through an animal bite.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says hantaviruses in the U.S. cannot be passed from human to human, but rare instances of person-to-person transmission have occurred in Chile and Argentina in people who had close contact with individuals infected with the Andes virus.
The CDC says that hantaviruses in the U.S. can be transmitted by cotton rats, deer mice, rice rats and white-footed mice.
“Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS),” the CDC’s website explains. “Other hantaviruses, known as “Old World” hantaviruses, are found mostly in Europe and Asia and may cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).”
The symptoms of HPS include fatigue, fever and muscle aches. Infected individuals may feel dizzy, have a headache, chills, as well as stomach problems. As the disease progresses, it can cause shortness of breath, a cough and lungs to fill with fluid. Of those who develop HPS, 38% die.
HFRS has a significantly lower mortality rate, somewhere between 1-15%. Its symptoms include stomach pain, headaches, chills, nausea and fever.
It is unclear if the man who died suffered from either HPS or HFRS.
His death comes during a large outbreak of a novel coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Similar to hantavirus, animals carry the virus and can pass it on to a human host, though the current strain of coronavirus can be easily transmitted from human to human.
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