Knowing Hantavirus, the Virus that Appeared in the Middle of the Corona Virus Outbreak

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Knowing Hantavirus, the Virus that Appeared in the Middle of the Corona Virus Outbreak
Knowing Hantavirus, the Virus that Appeared in the Middle of the Corona Virus Outbreak

In the midst of the Corona virus outbreak, some people may have heard of the emergence of a virus called hantavirus. In order not to panic even more, let's identify what hantavirus is and what symptoms can appear due to infection with the virus

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet. In the midst of this outbreak, several media had reported about the emergence of another virus called hantavirus. Unlike the Corona virus which can be transmitted between humans, hantavirus can only be transmitted from animals, namely rodents, especially rats.

Get to know Hantavirus, the Virus that Appeared in the Middle of the Corona Virus Outbreak - Alodokter

Hantavirus and how it spreads

Hantaviruses are a group of viruses that can be found in the urine, saliva, and feces of rats or other rodents. Hantavirus is commonly found in rats located in forests, fields, and farms. In addition, this virus can also be found in mice in houses, barns, and warehouses.

Hantavirus only survives less than 1 week outside the host's body and can even survive only a few hours in direct sunlight.

A person can get a hantavirus infection in several ways, namely:

  • Touching or direct contact with feces, saliva, or urine of mice that have been infected with hantavirus
  • Consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with hantavirus
  • Breathing dirty air or dust that carries hantavirus
  • Touching or using objects that have been exposed to the hantavirus
  • Bit by a hantavirus-infected mouse

When infected with hantavirus, a person does not immediately experience symptoms. Usually the symptoms of a new hantavirus infection will appear 2-4 weeks after a person is exposed to hantavirus.

Symptoms and Diseases Due to Hantavirus Infection

Hantavirus infection can cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Shiver
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Digestive problems

If these symptoms are not treated immediately, hantavirus infection can cause the sufferer to experience impaired function or more severe organ damage, namely:

lung disorders

Hantavirus infection can attack the lungs and cause a disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). This disease has flu-like symptoms, but can worsen rapidly and cause severe respiratory distress.

When this happens, people with HPS can experience lung swelling, oxygen deprivation, and a drastic drop in blood pressure.

kidney damage

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a disease that can also be caused by a hantavirus. People who have HFRS will experience symptoms of a hantavirus infection and several other symptoms, such as red eyes, skin rashes, decreased blood pressure, and impaired kidney function or even kidney failure.

Steps for Handling and Prevention of Hantavirus Infection

Both HPS and HFRS are dangerous conditions. So, people who are infected with this virus need to get immediate treatment from a doctor. If it has caused severe organ damage, people with hantavirus infection usually need to be treated in the intensive care room or ICU.

To overcome severe respiratory problems due to hantavirus infection in patients, doctors will install ventilators for patients and give medicines and fluids through an IV.

Meanwhile, to treat HFRS, doctors can give medicines through infusion, oxygen, and dialysis to replace kidney function damaged by hantavirus infection.

In order not to be infected with hantavirus, you need to take preventive steps by staying away from contact with mice or rat droppings, urine, and saliva. Apart from that, other steps you can take to prevent infection with this virus include:

  • Storing foodstuffs in tightly closed plastic containers.
  • Consuming nutritious food to maintain body resistance.
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after eating.
  • Closing gaps or holes in the walls or doors of the house that have the potential to be a way in and out for rats.
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the house and the environment, as well as regularly cutting grass and wild plants around the house.

When you clean a house or a rat-infested area, wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, a mask, and goggles, to reduce your risk of exposure to urine, saliva and rat droppings.

If you are bitten by a rat or come in contact with rat droppings, urine, or saliva, immediately consult a doctor to make sure you are not infected with hantavirus or other diseases, such as leptospirosis.

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