Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide. Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people. Hantaviruses in the Americas are known as “New World” hantaviruses and may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
A man from China’s Yunnan province tested positive for Hantavirus on Monday. He died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus, China’s Global Times reported. 32 other people have been tested, the report added.
Following his death, hantavirus became a trend on social media, with people panicking that it was another COVID-19 ready to cause a new pandemic. However, contrary to popular belief and WhatsApp university schooling us about it, let’s get a reality check about hantavirus.
Firstly, unlike coronavirus, hantavirus is not airborne. Humans who contract the hantavirus usually come into contact with rodents that carry the virus. “Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus,” Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said in its website.
Although HPS can’t be passed on from person to person, it can be contracted if someone touches their eyes, nose or mouth after touching rodent droppings, urine, or nesting materials, states Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet.