A new virus outbreak called hantavirus (HPS ) has been detected in china amid COVID 19 scare.On Monday 24th march 2020, a Chinese man died of hantavirus, Global Times reported. Hantavirus is a disease that affects both the pulmonary region, as well as the kidneys in the long run, medical experts have said.
However, in an era where the coronavirus pandemic has created fear in the world, this case of hantavirus originating in China has resulted in the virus become one of the most searched trends on Twitter.
What Is Hantavirus?
The ‘Hantavirus’ is a group of rodent-borne viruses that causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). It was first identified in the Southwestern United States in 1993 when a group of healthy adults suffered rapid breathing difficulty followed by respiratory failure from an unknown cause. Blood samples from these patients tested positive for exposure to the hantavirus. At the time, prior case reports had linked hantavirus infection to rodents in a single area.
An extensive rodent-catching campaign led to the discovery of an unusually large population of infected deer mice near these patients. This was the first large group of patients with HPS attributed to rodent exposure. Several more cases were found when looking back. We now know that hantavirus caused illness in both North and South America, with more than 600 cases identified from 1993 to 2013 (see below).
HANTAVIRUS SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome advances through two distinct stages. In the first stage, you may experience flu-like signs and symptoms that may include:
- Fever and chills
- Headaches and muscle aches
- Vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain
In its early stages, hantavirus infection is difficult to distinguish from influenza, pneumonia or other viral conditions. After four to 10 days, more-serious signs and symptoms begin. They typically include:
- A cough that produces secretions
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid accumulating within the lungs
- Low blood pressure
- Reduced heart efficiency
A man from China’s Yunnan province tested positive for Hantavirus on Monday. He died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus, China’s Global Times reported. 32 other people have been tested, the report added.
How Serious Is HPS?
HPS is an extremely serious and life-threatening disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 728 cases of HPS were identified in the United States between 1993 and 2014. Around a third of these patients died. Cases have been identified in 34 states, with more than 90% identified in states west of the Mississippi River.
Several strains of the virus have been identified, with the Sin Nombre Virus (SNV) and Andes virus associated with the most severe form of the illness. Mild infections can cause death in about 10% to 30% of cases, whereas in severe illness, case fatality rates are as
How HANTAVIRUS is Diagnosed
Diagnosis relies on finding antibodies against hantavirus. Antibodies are specific proteins produced by the immune system to fight infections, and detecting antibodies against hantavirus in a patient with exposure and hantavirus symptoms can be used to confirm a hantavirus infection.
How HPS Is Treated
There is no cure for HPS. Treatment of HPS is supportive. Supportive care includes oxygen therapy, fluid replacement, and use of medications to support blood pressure. Due to the risk of rapid respiratory deterioration, patients suspected to have HPS should be transported immediately to a hospital with intensive care monitoring, support with mechanical ventilation (respirator), and kidney dialysis.
Sometimes antiviral drugs, such as ribavirin, are used to treat other strains of hantavirus and associated infections (HFRS). However, no large trials have proven them to work, but doctors may try in very severe cases.
How likely is it to get hantavirus?
Cohen: Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is rare — the chance of getting the disease is 1 in 13,000,000, which is less likely than being struck by lightning.
Managing and Preventing HANTAVIRUS
The best treatment is prevention. With HPS, prevention is directed toward minimizing rodent exposure and early identification of any exposed/infected patients.
- Seal up (using cement or other patching material) holes or cracks through which rodents may gain entry to your home or work environment. Remember, they can get through opening that are much smaller than you may think!
- Identify potential nesting sites, and clean up debris, clear bushes, and trap rodents to remove them. this controls hantavirus
- Open and aerate well any chronically closed rodent-infested spaces before entering them.
- Heavily infested areas should be brought to the attention of the relevant state or federal health officials prior to cleaning