As the coronavirus pandemic slows down in China, a man from Yunnan Province, southwest China, died after catching hantavirus, another infectious disease, on Monday while traveling to Shandong Province.
“A person from Yunnan Province died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus on Monday,” the newspaper Global Times reported.
According to the newspaper, the man was screened for the bug after he died. The 32 passengers present on the bus he was on board were also tested for the virus, though it is rarely passed from human to human.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that the hantavirus pathogens are mainly spread by rodents such as mice and rats. “Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people,” the CDC stated.
The agency also highlighted an important point; each strain of hantavirus is linked with a host species of rodents.
As a reminder, hantaviruses are passed on in what is known as airborne transmission, when virus particles from the animal’s urine, feces, and saliva travel in the air and infect an individual.
Thus, it is not much common for a person to catch hantavirus unless in rare situations such as if they are bitten by an infected animal.
However, if a person has been in contact with a surface contaminated with the urine, droppings or saliva of a host, afterward touch their mouth or nose, they are likely to catch the disease.
According to U.S.-based center for Disease Control and Prevention, the transmission of this virus cannot be passed from human to human, except for Argentina in 1996 when it was suggested that “strains of hantaviruses in South America may be transmissible from person to person,”.
The symptoms of potentially deadly HPS include:
- Fatigue and fever
- Muscle aches in the thighs, back, hips, and at times in the shoulders
- Dizziness and headache
- Diarrhea and stomach pain
Note: Between 4 to 10 days after the first phase, a patient is likely to experience shortness of breath, a cough, and their lungs may in some cases be filled with fluid.