COVID-19 has prompted global concern. Ever since the outbreak, humans have isolated themselves, fearing the consequences of COVID-19. Amidst this havoc, there was a report of a new death from China’s Yunnan province. The person who died was found positive for Orthohantavirus. At the time, when around six lacs people are infected with COVID-19, the diagnosis of Orthohantavirus is not a piece of good news. We are still struggling to fight back COVID-19. Amidst this struggle, a new concern is raised. People are terrified and curious, curious about what will happen next.
There is much perturbation online about Orthohantavirus. It has paved its way to twitter’s top trending list. But should we worry about it?
All You Need To Know About Orthohantavirus!
What is Hantavirus, and from where did it appear?
It is a family of viruses that spread mostly via rodents and has the potential to sweep out most of the human population. They are capable of causing various disease syndromes in humans like Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome(HPS).
A lot of misinformation has been circulating over the internet for the past few days. Hantavirus is not a new virus.
CDC tells that these viruses mainly spread through rodents. They cause the human capillaries to leak and fill the lungs with fluids, which further cause some kind of respiratory problem.
Reliable information about this virus can be found on the official website of the CDC.
This disease is not airborne and is mainly transmitted to people when they come in contact with urine, feces, and saliva of rodents.
In the United States, the carrier agent is the Sin Nombre virus carried by deer mice. CDC tells that the mortality rate of Hantavirus is about 38%. Hence, it is a severe disease and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, everyone now fears the outbreak of Hantavirus. As a result, the Government is promoting social distancing to protect people from getting infected.
What are your chances of catching this virus?
There is no evidence to prove that Hantavirus is not contagious. Though it spreads from rodents to people, yet the outbreaks show that there is person-to-person transmission also among the part of the population exposed to the same rodent carriers.
CDC says that such kind of viruses are rare and spread through close contacts with rodents such as certain species of mice.
Though it is difficult for such viruses to spread, once they infect a person, then the consequences can be fatal. Hantavirus causes hazardous syndrome, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome(HPS). From 2009 to 2017, 553 HPS were reported. All of them were so severe that a case fatality rate of 21.8% was registered.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Orthohantavirus
CDC classifies the symptoms of Hantavirus as Early Symptoms and Late Symptoms.
Early symptoms include:
- Muscle aches especially in large muscle groups
These symptoms are universal. In addition to them, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also be noticed.
Late symptoms are identified after four to ten days of initial illness. They include coughing, shortness of breath with a claustrophobic sensation. Once, an HPS patient describes his pain by saying that he felt like there was a tight band around his chest and pillow over his face. Some people also develop hemorrhagic fever and kidney failure.
Diagnosing HPS, in its initial stage, becomes difficult because early symptoms are confused with the symptoms of influenza. Therefore, most of the Hantavirus cases are diagnosed in its later stage.
But if you had any kind of recent contact with rodents, do tell your doctor.
Doctors prescribe numerous tests to diagnose Hantavirus. Blood tests are efficient in reveling the signs of disease and even identify proteins associated with the virus.
If you are experiencing any of the early symptoms, do visit a doctor and take all the necessary precautions.
Is there a Treatment for this fatal illness?
CDC denies the existence of any specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for Hantavirus infection. However, all those who are diagnosed in the early stages and receiving intense medical care are likely to recover. The only thing which has proven to save the victims from death is supportive medical care such as oxygen therapy, fluid replacements, and blood pressure medications. Sooner the medical care is given, more are the chances of patients to survive.
Hence, it is advisory to contact your physician immediately if you are experiencing any of the possible symptoms. Reaching out to a doctor becomes more important if you have been around rodents.
DECLARATIONWe don’t advise any kind of treatment. Kindly consult your doctor to know what exactly should be done. Strictly follow your doctor’s advice only.
Hantavirus Incubation Period
The incubation period for Orthohantavirus is around 1-4 weeks. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome(HPS) takes about 2-4 weeks to show the symptoms. Consequently, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is divided into three clinical phases.
- The Prodromal Phase
- The Cardiopulmonary Phase
- The Convalescent Phase
The symptoms of prodromal phase have striking similarities to that of a viral illness. Fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea all are common. Only the neurological symptoms except dizziness are uncommon. All these last upto3-5 days.
What all you need to do to be safe from Hantavirus?
The most alarming part about the Orthohantavirus is that there is no specific vaccine for its cure. Therefore, precaution becomes of utmost importance. All we can do to protect ourselves from this is taking strict precautions.
Below is the list of several precautions that one must take to protect himself from the fatal consequences of Hantavirus.
- Avoid going to the places where rodents leave droppings.
- Wear hand gloves, face mask, and make sure to cover yourself adequately while exposing yourself to rodents droppings.
- Use sanitizers and disinfectants to sanitize the affected area accurately to avoid any kind of transmission.
- Seal the loopholes in your house to prevent the rodents from sneaking in.
- Try to eliminate the rodent population in and around your house.
- Avoid leaving your food open in your home.
- Make sure to air out all the areas before entering, where rodents are likely to be present.
Outbreaks of Hantavirus
There have been three outbreaks of Orthohantavirus in the past.
- The 1993 Four Corners Hantavirus Outbreak
- August 2012 Outbreak
- January 2017 Outbreak
The four corners Hantavirus outbreak was an outbreak that caused the first known human cases of hantavirus disease in the United States. It occurred within the Four Corners region. A freak September snowstorm shut down the virus transmission.
There was 17 death due to Hantavirus in 2017 all around the world. The virus has brutally taken many lives all around the globe.
The picture below shows the intensity of the infection all around the globe.
Most Asked questions on Hantavirus-
What are the chances that I will die if I am tested positive for Hantavirus?
If you test positive for the virus, make sure you get the best medical care. If you are getting suffiecient medical support, the chances of your speedy recovery are quite high. CDC says that there are 38% chances of your death without proper medical care.
Can I get Hantavirus from old mouse droppings?
There are rare chances of you getting the virus from droppings. People mostly get the virus by inhaling the dust contaminated air r by touching the droppings. You must know the fact that the virus can live in the environment for several days. So it is not advisory to take any kind of risk.
Which disinfectant kills the virus?
The disinfectant used for sanitization should be 10 percent chlorine bleach and 90 percent water. The chlorine bleach is very useful in killing the virus.
We are praying for the best!
The intensity of this illness has spurred a global concern. People are scared to face a Hantavirus pandemic when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has infected millions of people all around the globe.
Governments of almost every country are advising people to practice social distancing and take all the necessary precautions to save themselves. Alerts have been issued in several places. There are lockdowns and curfews in numerous countries. Some claim that worse is yet to come, and the entire human population is in danger due to this COVID-19 crisis. People are praying for the best. Let us all hope for the best for the whole of the world.