While new coronavirus cases are slowing down to a trickle, China is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic that originated in Wuhan. But a new social media post made by a state-controlled publication claimed that a new virus has killed a man on Monday.

Chinese publication The Global Times tweeted on Monday that one person died of hantavirus infection in China, according to Global News. The social media post, which has not been posted to the publication’s English website, sparking fears over the possibility of a new type of outbreak.

“A person from Yunnan Province died while he was on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus on Monday,” The Global Times tweeted. “He tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested.”

What Is Hantavirus?

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, hantavirus is a type of virus that can cause a “rare but very serious lung disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).” It was first discovered in 1993 but is probably existed way before its discovery.

The Ministry said that the first cases were recorded in the southwest United States’ rural areas. There are only less than 35 reported cased in the U.S. annually while Canadian cases averaged only three per year.

Symptoms

While there is no known incubation period for the virus at this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that symptoms might appear between 1 and 8 weeks after a person is exposed to the droppings, saliva or fresh urine of an infected rodent.

Early symptoms include fever and fatigue as well as muscle aches, especially in the back, hips, and thighs. Some patients also reported having chills, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Late symptoms start to appear around four to 10 days after the illness’s initial phase. They include shortness of breath, coughing and a “tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face” sensation as described by patients.

Disease’s Mortality Rate and How People Can Become Infected

There are a number of ways people can get infected with the hantavirus. They may get it by “breathing in infected dust from deer mice droppings or urine.” In some cases, they were infected after “being bitten by an infected deer mouse” or by “touching any broken skin after contact with infected material.”

HPS can be fatal and has a higher mortality rate compared to the COVID-19. Deaths will result to 38 percent of those infected, according to CDC.

Why It Can’t Become A Pandemic

But fears over the HPS potentially becoming a pandemic are simply untrue. “The virus does not pass from person to person,” Ontario’s Ministry of Health said. “There is no evidence that the virus is spread through food, water or insects, such as ticks, blackflies and mosquitoes. Pets and livestock do not catch the virus so these animals cannot pass it to people.”

Health experts say people should not be concerned. “Human-human transmission is rare,” neuroscientist Dr. Sumaiya Shaikh tweeted on Tuesday. “. There were even vaccines developed for it. Please do not panic, unless you plan to eat rats.”

“It is not transmitted person-to-person like COVID-19,” Queen’s University infectious disease specialist Dr. Gerard Evans said. “Yeah, it’s hysteria.”

Doctor Coronavirus detected in Central China Pixabay