Hantavirus, the “new” virus in China : what you need to know.

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Hantavirus is mainly spread by rodents . It was first reported in 1950s during the Korean Wars, isolated in 1976 by Dr Wong Lee. It is named after Hanta River because the first outbreak was reported there.

It can be contacted when human get into close contact with an infected rodent fluids, like saliva, urine and feaces of infected rodents or when bitten by an infected rodent. For instance, if a rat ate part of your ugali and it was infected, you will get the virus if you either touch the ugali then touch your face or if you eat that ugali, because chances are that the rat took a pis on it or licked it.

However, the virus is not airborne and is rarely transmitted from person to person.

Early symptoms of the virus include fatigue, fever muscle ache, headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal pains. If left unchecked it can lead to coughing and shortness of breath and fatal after 4 to 10 days.

The virus can also lead to low blood pressure, kidney failure, acute shock and vascular leakage. The CDC puts the virus mortality rate at 38%

Hantavirus is not as lethal as the novel coronavirus which has been proven to spread from person to person and has so far killed over 15,000 people and infected another 377,000 people.

John Otieno

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