Hantavirus kills man in China, 32 co-passengers in bus being tested

A person from south China’s Yunnan province died of hantavirus infection, or the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) while on his way to eastern China’s Shandong province, the tabloid Global Times reported in a tweet on Monday.

“He was tested positive for hantavirus. Other 32 people on the bus were tested,” the GT tweet said without elaborating.

According to the World Health Organisation, HPS is a zoonotic (which could spread from animals to human) viral respiratory disease, which could spread from rodents.

The disease symptoms are headache, dizziness, chills fever, muscle pain, and stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, followed by sudden onset of respiratory distress and low blood pressure.

“The infection (in humans) is acquired primarily through inhalation of aerosols or contact with infected rodent excreta, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents,” the WHO said in a report on the spread of the disease in Argentina in 2018.

“Cases of human hantavirus infection usually occur in rural areas (e.g. forests, fields, and farms) where sylvatic rodents hosting the virus might be found and where persons may be exposed to the virus,” the WHO report said.

According to the WHO, between 2013 and 2018, 114 confirmed deaths from hantavirus were reported in Argentina, with a case-fatality rate of 18.6%, though this figure was close to “…40% for some provinces in the southern region of the country.”

According to the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 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 while other hantavirus, mostly in Europe and Asia, are known as “Old World” hantaviruses.

Mumbai had reported one death linked to the hantavirus infection in 2016 when a 12-year-old died. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had then linked the death to the lung infection caused by viruses in the saliva, urine, and droppings of rodents.

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