Why Hantavirus is Not Likely to Create a Pandemic like Coronavirus

Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a death by hantavirus has made people around the world raise the eyebrows. Hantavirus, which is mainly spread through rodents, has claimed a life in China. It has added to the fear and chaos across the world. However, the CDC i.e. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has cleared that the virus has very limited person-to-person spread. Medical professionals also are not fearing another pandemic like coronavirus due to hantavirus.

Times of India, one of the notable publications in India had a word with Dr. Vivek Nangia and Dr. Navdeep Kumar about the same and here are some of the facts revealed by both the medical experts.

What is Hantavirus?

“The hantavirus is found in the feces, saliva or urine of rodents. It is transmitted to humans only through aerosols released by these into the air. It is only when we inhale these aerosols that we stand a chance of catching the virus,” said Dr. Nangia.

The primary symptoms of the virus are fever, dizziness and muscle aches. Dr Vivek Nangia said, “The virus manifests in one of two ways. The first is hemorrhagic fever with renal failure and the other is hemorrhagic fever with lung and cardiac involvement. The second is more lethal.”

Is it a direct threat to India?

Talking about the threat to Indian in terms of the hantavirus spread, Dr. Nangia said, “Infections like the hantavirus usually occur in clusters. The current cluster is mainly China. It is not very likely the rodents can travel to India.”

He added, “The human to human spread in this disease is close to zero. There is nothing to worry as of now.”

“The hantavirus is clustered around Europe, the US, and Canada. However, Indians definitely need to follow the same precautions that they have during the current pandemic. The hantavirus is less likely to spread as fast as the coronavirus due to the shorter incubation period,” said Dr. Kumar. Unlike Coronavirus, the incubation period of Hantavirus is around 3 to 5 days where coronavirus takes 2 weeklong periods.

What are the precautions necessary?

Right now, we are going through rough times amidst the coronavirus outbreak which has affected more than 500,000 people around the world and more than 700 in India. There are precautions we have to take care of amidst another virus from China. “Maintaining the same kind of personal hygiene is very important and stay away from rodents, dead or alive. Farmers have a higher chance of contracting the virus during harvesting seasons, i.e. during the spring or fall. They need to be extra careful not to come in contact with rodents,” said Dr. Nangia.

Will it result in another pandemic like Coronavirus?

“It is hard to say anything as of today. The coronavirus and hantavirus belong to different groups of viruses. However, it is sure that China should not take the one case lightly,” said Dr. Navdeep Kumar.

Dr. Vivek Nangai added, “Pandemics usually occur during the asymptomatic stages of the disease. In severe diseases like that caused by a hantavirus, the patient is hospitalized early. This controls the spread of the disease.”

Dr. Nangia explained that the group of the virus is limited to China and the USA only. There’s one death in China due to the Hantavirus and the other 32 are tested.

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