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Hantavirus: symptoms, precautions and treatment

10 July, 2020 Arpita Karmakar

 

What is Hantavirus? What is its origin? 

Originally known to have been found in Asia during the Korean War, Hantavirus was discovered in a mouse of a striped field near the Hantan River in Southern Korea and the prototype was named Hantaan virus, classified under its own genus Hantavirus.

The original virus was isolated almost 20 years later, in 1976. They are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or Hantavirus infection is a highly contagious disease brought about by flu-like symptoms to life-threatening breathing disorders. 

Again in March, 2020 along the coronavirus pandemic, a man from Yunnan, China got infected with Hantavirus and later died while 32 other people who were travelling with him were tested for the virus. And soon the entire world got to know about this family of viruses that predominantly known to have originated and spread from infected rodents. 

How can Hantavirus enter a person's body? 

Each type of Hantavirus has a varied rodent carrier. The deer mouse, white-tailed mouse, cotton rat, rice rat etc are primary carriers of the virus responsible for maximum cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. 

People can get the Hantavirus infection through inhalation. If a person inhales respirable droplets of urine or saliva or through the dust of feces from infected and diseased wild rodents, especially deer mouses.Transmission of this infectious disease may also occur when materials which are contaminated get into scared or broken skin or possibly into our body through contaminated food or water.

While person to person contamination is yet to be verified, but in a few situations of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Southern America person-to-person transmission has been observed.

What are the common symptoms? 

3MEDS, the best healthcare service provider where there is a 24 hours medicine home delivery option suggests the below mentioned symptoms to be warning signs of a Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome-

A persistent fever

Severe Headaches and muscle aches

Stomach problems including diarrhea or vomiting or abnormal pain. 

Dizziness and Chills. 

Lungs filling with fluid. 

Shortness of breath.

Lower blood pressure 

Reduced heart efficiency. 

Who is at maximum risk of getting infected? 

Cases of Hantavirus infection have been associated with these activities and hence the people who are very much at risk are-

  • Visit rodent-infested areas while camping or hiking.

  • Live in dwellings with an indoor rodent population.

  • Study mice by trapping them. 

  • Occupy and cleaning previously empty and dirty dwellings.

  • Have a rodent infestation at home or work. 

  • Involved in a job that required exposure to rodents, such as pest control, construction, utility work etc. 

 

How is it different from other infectious diseases? 

Hantavirus infection is difficult to distinguish from Covid-19, influenza, pneumonia or other viral conditions. After 5 to 10 days of common symptoms like fever, aches, chills and gastrointestinal problems, more-serious symptoms begin.

The disease progresses at a faster pace and infected people experience their lungs being filled with flu and an abnormal fall in blood pressure. Extreme respiratory failure which results in death, can occur within a few days of the early symptoms.

Precautions and treatment for Hantavirus infections? 

Treatment - 

There is no specific treatment, vaccine or cure for Hantavirus infection yet found out but early diagnosis and medical attention in an intensive care unit can help with the recovery process. People who are infected may be given separate medication for fever, pain and oxygen therapy or ventilation for critical patients. Keep all your healthcare related things handy and buy medicines online in Delhi from the Best medical shop online, India  to stay safe. 

Preventive steps - 

  • It's important to prevent entry of mice into homes and workplaces by sealing up the holes and gaps in between the walls.

  • Snap traps to eliminate any mouse presence can be used. 

  • Individuals can also prevent rodent infestation by keeping shrubbery near the home clean, well-trimmed, and moving woodpiles from the dwellings. 

  • Wear rubber or plastic gloves while sweeping or vacuuming areas with rodent droppings and urine so as not to come in contact with them. 

  • Clean entire surfaces with disinfectants or bleach and dispose gloves, sponges and paper towels used to clean the surface in a proper place. 

  • Rodent infestation can always be done by using sprays, plug-ins or appoint exterminator or pest control for the same. 

For people who are already being exposed to hantavirus, closely monitoring for certain symptoms is vital.