Hantavirus: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factor and Treatment

The Centre for Disease Control says that the virus is spread mainly from rodents. It goes on to mention that infection with any of the Hantavirus can cause Hantavirus disease in people.

“Hantaviruses within the Americas are referred to as “New World” Hantaviruses and should cause Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Other Hantaviruses, referred to as “Old World” Hantaviruses, are found mostly in Russia, China, and Korea but could also be found in Scandinavia and Western Europe and infrequently in other areas.
Like HPS, HFRS results from Hantaviruses that are transmitted by

  • Rodent urine
  • Rodent droppings
  • Saliva (rodent bite)
  • The animals
  • By aerosolized dust contaminated with rodent urine or feces to human skin breaks or to mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • The overwhelming majority of HPS and HFRS infections don’t transfer from person to person.

The goal of this text is to debate HPS; however, much of what’s presented about HPS applies to HFRS, the most difference is that the predominant symptoms within the late stages of disease vary somewhat between the 2 diseases (lung fluid and shortness of breath in HPS and low vital sign, fever, and renal failure in HFRS). HPS may be a disease caused by Hantavirus that end in human lungs filling with fluid (pulmonary edema) and causing death in about 38% of all infected patients.

Symptoms of Hantavirus

 The flu (influenza) may be a viral disease of the tract. Characteristic symptoms are

  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • malaise
  • Headache

Early symptoms can cause diagnostic confusion. In 2018, Kiley Lane, a 27-year-old mother who lived in New Mexico, was diagnosed as having the flu but her symptoms got worse. She was diagnosed with having Hantavirus a few months after her flu diagnosis and died about one month later of the disease.

Late symptoms of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome occur about four to 10 days after the first symptoms and include;

  • chest pain
  • Shortness of breath will become severe

Some infected people may develop a hemorrhagic fever and renal failure which will require dialysis.

In what way Hantavirus affects your body?

Hantaviruses infect people once they are inhaled. If the virus reaches your lungs, it can infect the cells that line the small blood vessels within the lungs, causing them to become “leaky.” The leaky blood vessels allow fluid to fill the lungs making it difficult to breathe.
When the virus infects the guts, the damage reduces its ability to pump blood around the body. This failure causes very low vital signs (“shock”) as oxygen isn’t available to all or any of the cells of the body. This will rapidly cause the failure of most or all of the organs and may quickly cause death.

Risk factor

Rural populations with potential exposure to wild rodents are in danger. There are cases of patients developing HPS with none obvious contact with rodents, but it’s possible that they didn’t recognize their exposure. Because HPS is an airborne disease spread by rodent saliva, urine, or feces, you would possibly never see a rodent and still inhale air contaminated by the virus. While inhaling tiny droplets of the virus is that the commonest thanks to becoming infected, other routes of infection include a bite from an infected rodent, touching something contaminated by the virus then touching your mouth or potentially eating food contaminated by an infected rodent. In these cases, an awareness of other cases of HPS within the area and suspicious signs and symptoms should provide you with a warning to hunt help and doctors to determine early diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment of Hantavirus

There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for HPS. If infected individuals are recognized early and receive medical aid in a medical care unit, they’ll do better. In medical care, patients are intubated and given oxygen therapy to assist them through the amount of severe respiratory distress. the sooner the patient is brought in to medical care, the higher. If a patient is experiencing full respiratory distress, it’s less likely that the treatment is going to be effective. When people get HPS, it’s actually because they’ve been exposed to infected rodents or their droppings. So, the simplest means to help prevent HPS is to eliminate or minimize contact with rodents in your home, workplace, or campsite.

HP Thoughts: Brain disease, though rare, could occur when the afflicted is a victim of a rodent bite. Rodents have high levels of rabies and, in severe cases, a vicious bite might lead to brain dysfunction. One (probable) brain disease is the topic in our article — Encephalitis.

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