Hantavirus infections

Hantavirus infections often occur with fever, headache, and general muscle aches.

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We are currently experiencing a pandemic caused by the coronavirus. Due to this situation, everyone has been put on alert and has begun to document themselves, for fear that this situation will recur. This is why hantavirus infections have become popular.

Hantaviruses are a family of viruses found in different types of rodents around the world. Despite the fact that human infections with this virus are rare, its incidence is increasing and that is worrying the population.

This virus is present in the urine and feces of rodents. In this way, for a person to become infected, they must be in contact with these animals and their droppings. This infection can cause two types of syndromes: lung and kidney. 

The two syndromes have been more clearly identified in some areas of the planet than in others. In this article we explain everything you should know about hantavirus infections.

Where have hantavirus infections occurred?

As we have mentioned, hantavirus infections are quite rare. The first time it was detected was in the United States in 1993. Normally, sporadic or isolated cases occur within a country.

This is because the virus is transmitted mainly by contact with the droppings of infected rodents. Spot outbreaks with human-to-human transmission have been recorded, for example in Argentine Patagonia. It is true that it can be spread by inhaling the air contaminated by the virus.

It has been proven that in the areas where there is a lot of dust, the transmission of this virus is favored . As we have pointed out, hantavirus is usually differentiated according to the clinical syndrome it produces.

In this way, the hantavirus that was discovered in the United States produced a pulmonary syndrome . Cases occurred in Canada and other countries in America. Furthermore, hantavirus renal syndrome was mainly identified in Europe, China and Korea, although it spread to other areas.

What symptoms does the infection produce?

Hantavirus infections often express common symptoms, such as sudden fever and headache . Normally, the infection is expressed about 2 weeks after having contact with the virus.

There is also often diarrhea, vomiting, and generalized muscle pain. Most often, symptoms remain for 4 to 5 days , although cases have been documented where they have been maintained for up to 15 days.

In addition to these symptoms, hantavirus infections can cause a pulmonary syndrome or a kidney syndrome. In the case of those who develop a pulmonary syndrome, the symptoms are similar to coronavirus infection .

That is, there is cough and respiratory distress . It is a serious condition that causes death in almost half of the cases. This occurs because fluid builds up around the lungs and lung capacity is seriously affected.

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Renal syndrome

Among people infected with hantavirus who develop a kidney syndrome, we also find different levels of severity. Some people tend to have a mild and almost asymptomatic infection.

However, there are cases where symptoms are aggravated. What happens is that a drop in blood pressure occurs and, due to this, kidney failure develops . In these cases, it is common to find blood in the urine.

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How are hantavirus infections diagnosed and treated?

In order to diagnose this infection, it is very important to know in detail the patient’s medical history. The doctor must know if he has been in an area where there were many rodents or in contact with their droppings.

blood test is usually done to check for the presence of the virus and also to see if there is kidney or lung involvement. Treatment will depend on the symptoms and the specific syndrome that is expressed.

Generally speaking, pulmonary syndrome usually requires oxygen and mechanical ventilation. In the case of kidney syndrome, dialysis is sometimes necessary. However, everything depends on the severity of the infection and the medical decisions that are made according to each case.


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