Hantavirus: Symptoms, diagnosis and prevention
Beijing : A man in China lost his life hours after he was diagnosed with Hantavirus, leading to panic among the citizens of the world, who are still finding a way to tackle the deadly coronavirus, which was first discovered in December last year.
At a time when getting panicked is common, the need is to understand the disease and take preventions. The most important thing is that it is caused by rodents.
CDC says: "Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide. Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host. The most important hantavirus in the United States that can cause HPS is the Sin Nombre virus, spread by the deer mouse."
How is Hantavirus caused?
According to Govt of Canada’s Public Health Service, one can get the disease by inhaling virus particles from rodent urine, dropping or saliva . It can happen when rodent waste is served up from vacuuming or sweeping.
"Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus," said CDC.
Hantavirus Signs & Symptoms
HPS has a small incubation period and symptoms deliver over 1 to 8 weeks. Early ones include
These occur in large muscle groups like thighs, hips, back and shoudlers
Others include headaches, dizziness, chills, abdominal pain, nausea vomiting, diarrhoea.
Later symptoms include lungs filling with fluid, which feel like pillow on one’s face.
HPS has fatality rate of 38%, making it more dangerous than coronavirus.
Hantavirus Diagnosis & Treatment
Its diagnosis becomes difficult as the symptoms have a major resemblance to influenza, like coronavirus. Individuals with fever and fatigue and who are exposed to rats should be tested. In India, groups such as irulas, who hunt rats and snakes, have been found to be vulnerable.
No specific treatment other than medical care and ICU, where oxygen therapy can help with respiratory distress. The earlier the patient reaches ICU, the better it is.
Minimise contact with rats at home or work. Clean up properly and use pest control.