China: Man dies of hantavirus infection, which spreads from rodents

A man in China – from where the novel coronavirus originated – died of hantavirus, a disease spread through rodents, in Yunnan province on Tuesday, reported. The man reportedly died while on his way to eastern China’s Shandong province on a chartered bus.

The 32 other passengers in the bus with the man were tested for the virus, quoted Global Times as saying.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by infection with hantaviruses. Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantaviruses is at risk of contracting the infection, it said.

“However, we do know that if infected individuals are recognised early and receive medical care in an intensive care unit, they may do better,” the medical body said. “In intensive care, patients are intubated and given oxygen therapy to help them through the period of severe respiratory distress.”

The World Health Organization has categorised hantavirus infection as zoonotic – or a disease which is communicable from animals to humans – viral respiratory disease which spreads from rodents.

The symptoms of the disease include headache, dizziness, chills fever, muscle pain, and stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. The next stage of the infection begins with the onset of respiratory distress and low blood pressure.

“The infection [in humans] is acquired primarily through inhalation of aerosols or contact with infected rodent excreta, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents,” the WHO said in a report on the spread of the disease in Argentina in 2018, according to the Hindustan Times.