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A Chinese man passed away due to 'hantavirus', a state-media reported which led to a renewed panic over a virus at a time when the world is racing to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It all seems to have started by a tweet from Global Times, an English-language publication based in China.
"A person from Yunnan Province died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus on Monday. He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on the bus were tested," the tweet read.
The tweet sparked viral memes and fears that after the novel coronavirus we might have to deal with another virus.
A new disease outbreak caused by the hantavirus has been detected in China.
The claim is misleading. While it's true that a fatal case of hantavirus infection occurred in China in March 2020, the virus is spread by rodents and is neither an "outbreak" nor a new phenomenon.
The hantavirus cannot be transmitted between humans like COVID-19. Instead, hantaviruses are spread from rodents to humans, and cases are extremely rare.
The first strain of hantavirus was recorded during the Korean War when it killed 190 American G.I.'s and infected about 3,000.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hantaviruses are a group of viruses that may be carried by some rodents. Some hantaviruses can cause a rare but deadly disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
People get HPS when they inhale in hantaviruses. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain hantavirus are stirred up into the air.
People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Symptoms appear 1 to 5 weeks after they were around mice or rats that carried a hantavirus. Fever, severe muscle aches, fatigue, difficulty in breathing. Sometimes people will have headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach pain.
Keep mice and rats out of your home. Clean up mouse and rat urine, droppings, and nesting materials with a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water.
Therefore, It can be ascertained that the Hantavirus is spread by rodents to humans and there is no evidence it can be transmitted from one human to another.
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