Panic On Social Media After China Man Dies Of Hantavirus

There was major scare in China and elsewhere through social media after a man in the Yunnan province of China died of Hantavirus. The social media went viral with users spreading panic about the emergence of a new virus in China right on the back of the coronavirus pandemic in China – which is still ravaging most of the other countries of the world.

China’s state influenced news paper Global Times reported that the man, who had died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus, had tested positive for Hantavirus on Monday. The report also stated that there were 35 others who also had been infected with the virus.

The news of the death sparked panic on social media and hantavirus became a trend. Millions of users in China and at other countries panicked about the death saying that it was another COVID-19 ready to cause a new pandemic.

However, most of the panic stricken messages making rounds on the social media were false and far from the reality of what actually hantavirus is.

This virus is not a new one and is usually carried and transmitted by rodents – mostly wild ones, and humans can get infected if they come into contact of the rodents carrying the virus.

“Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus,” says the website of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Secondly, this hantavirus is not an airborne disease and cannot be passed on from one human to another. The only way that one can contract this respiratory disease is when one touched their eyes, nose or mouth after touching the droppings, urine, or nesting materials of the rodents that are carriers of the virus, states Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet.

However some of the early symptoms of this disease are similar to that of flue and Covid-19 including fever, headache, muscle ache and abdominal pain, there are some symptoms that are unique to it such as dizziness, chills and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms. The symptoms seen at a later stage of the disease are lungs fill with fluid and shortness of breath.

The mortality rate of this virus is however higher than that of coronavirus.

(Adapted from

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