Hantavirus is caused by rodents; its first outbreak was reported in May 1993 in America’s ‘Four Corners Area’
By Dr. Loveson Lakhani
China has won the months-long war against coronavirus but again there are reports of a new viral disease case detected from its Yunnan province. The virus is known as Hantavirus caused by rodents.
The Hantavirus first broke out in May 1993 in southwestern United States’ ‘four corners area’ shared by Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah where a young, physically fit Navajo man suffering from shortness of breath was rushed to a hospital in New Mexico and died very rapidly.
America’s disease control center says that rodent are main cause to spread of this disease from rodent to human, and such patients are called “Hantavirus people”.
The Hantavirus has been reported at a time when coronavirus has infected over four hundred thousand people and the death tally is said to be about 16300 around the world.
Hantaviruses are single stranded RNA virus which is present in rodents and these are playing role to transmit the disease towards the humans.
Spread of this virus takes place through rodent’s urine, feces and saliva. There are some highly fatal strains that cause fatal diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and Hantavirus Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is found in South America and North America. It is a fatal disease that causes pulmonary distraction.
Symptoms are like flu such as fever, cough, muscle pain, headache, lethargy, shortness of breath with evolving of pulmonary edema, lungs congestion and fluid accumulation in the lungs, dizziness, chills, abdominal problems mainly nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain.
The mortality rate is about to 39%.
We can diagnosis the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) through symptoms like muscle aches, fatigue, influenza etc. but the most and preferred diagnosis is by shortness of breath. The x-ray can give additional evidences.
Treatment is non-specific, as there is no vaccine but this can be treated by caring the patient with oxygen therapy through mechanical ventilation in intensive care unit. If the patient is more involved in this disease then no any treatment will be effective.
Prevention is must. You should avoid the rodent contamination through blockage or sealing of the holes and gapes in your homes and minimize the contact with rodents. Use traps to rid of the rodents and keep clean you home.
(The writer is doing PhD at Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam)