25 Mar 2020 15:17 IST

Here is how hantavirus is different from coronavirus

In the former, there is is no human-to-human transmission; it's spread mainly by rodents

The times we live in are riddled with all sorts of news — the good, the bad and the fake. It becomes imperative, then, to not immediately believe anything we read. Take a breather, look at the cold, hard scientific facts that are available and then take the next step. A routine that most definitely needs to be applied in this current coronavirus pandemic situation, now that there is news of a death in China from what we know as hantavirus.

If you were to login on Twitter, #Hantavirus is one of the top trends, garnering enough attention to make it look like its the next Covid-19. But here's where that public service announcement (PSA) about not panicking comes into effect. Let's take a look at the facts.

Why is everyone talking about hantavirus?

This began happening after earlier today, Global Times, one of China's national daily newspapers, reported the death of a man in Yunnan province, who tested positive for hantavirus. The man was reportedly commuting back home on a chartered bus with 32 others, all of whom were tested right away and declared negative for the virus.

What is hantavirus?

Contrary to what is being said on social media, hantavirus is not some ‘new virus from China’. In fact, it has been made abundantly clear that neither was SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus).

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines hantaviruses as a family of viruses which are spread mainly by rodents. People who come in contact with the urine, faeces or saliva of rodents, inhale air contaminated by these secretions or are bitten by an infected host can contract this virus.

It can cause a bunch of health issues in the infected person, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and Haemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).

How Is hantavirus different from coronavirus?

One of the basic similarities between coronavirus and hantavirus is that they're both not airborne diseases. This also leads to the biggest difference between the two — coronavirus has a human host, which can transmit the infection through droplets that may be released when the host sneezes or coughs.

However, in hantavirus there is no human-to-human transmission. Want to know the symptoms? Read here.

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