From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Hantavirus
Mains level : Rise in zoonotic diseases and their possible causes
China has reported the death of a person from Yunnan Province who tested positive for the Hantavirus.
What is Hantavirus?
- The Hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents. It is contracted by humans from infected rodents.
- Cases of the Hantavirus in humans occur mostly in rural areas where forests, fields and farms offer suitable habitat for infected rodents.
- A person can get infected if he/she comes in contact with a rodent that carries the virus.
- In the US and Canada, for instance, the Hantavirus carried by the deer mouse is responsible for the majority cases of the Hantavirus infection.
- Like this, there are various other kinds of Hantaviruses that find hosts in rodents, like the white-footed mouse and the cotton rat among others that may lead to infections in humans if transmitted.
- The Hantavirus is not novel and its first case dates back to 1993, according to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
- In the Americas, the family of viruses is known as ‘New World hantaviruses’.
- A person infected with the virus may show symptoms within the first to eighth week after they have been exposed to fresh urine, faeces or the saliva of infected rodents.
- Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, chills and abdominal problems.
- Four to ten after being infected, late symptoms of HPS may start to appear, which include coughing and shortness of breath.
- It is the cause of Hantavirus pulmonary disease (HPS), a severe respiratory disease. The HPS can be fatal and has a mortality rate of 38 per cent.
- It remains unclear whether human-to-human transmission of the virus is possible.
- There have been no reports of human-to-human transmission of Hantavirus in the US.