The new hantavirus is a family of viruses which are spread mainly by rodents Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: While coronavirus is claiming lives worldwide, forcing countries to announce lockdowns, another virus called ‘hantavirus’ has now joined the plethora of diseases.

According to China’s Global Times, a man from China has tested positive for hantavirus. The man from Yunnan Province died on a bus while on his way back to Shandong Province on Monday. There were 32 other people on the bus who were also tested for the virus.

What exactly is hantavirus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hantaviruses are a family of viruses which are spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied diseases in people, including hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

The disease is not airborne and can only spread to people if they come in contact with urine, faeces, and saliva of rodents and less frequently by a bite from an infected host.

Symptoms of hantavirus

Early symptoms of HPS include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, along with headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems. If left untreated, it can also lead to coughing and shortness of breath and can be fatal. According to CDC, it has a mortality rate of 38%.

While the initial symptoms of HFRS too remain the same, it can cause low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure.

HPS can’t be passed on from person to person, while HFRS transmission between people is extremely rare.

As per the CDC, rodent population control is the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infections

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