Hantavirus – Taiwan
A man in Keelung City (Taiwan) has been diagnosed with hantavirus, the first case in northern Taiwan this year and the fourth nationwide.
The patient, who is in his 40s, is a restaurant worker in the port city. He started exhibiting symptoms of the disease, including fever, diarrhea, and muscle pain, on April 10.
He was hospitalized on April 11, but the first screening failed to identify the cause of the illness. A second test was conducted on April 27 and led to a confirmed diagnosis of Hantavirus on May 5.
The patient reported seeing rats, the carriers of the virus, at his workplace but said he had not been bitten. Sterilization and pest control have been conducted at locations he has visited, and those who have come into contact with him have not developed any symptoms.
Photo: Rat – rodents are a natural reservoir of Hantavirus.
Health authorities in Keelung urged restaurants, hotels, markets, food stalls, and food factories to beef up measures against rodents. Residents are advised to sterilize areas contaminated by rodent excrement with diluted bleach.
The natural reservoir of Hantavirus is rodents, although infected with the virus it does not cause disease in them. Humans may become infected with Hantaviruses through contact with rodent urine, saliva, or feces. Some strains cause potentially fatal diseases in humans, such as Hantavirus hemorrhagic fever or Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Human infections of Hantaviruses have almost entirely been linked to human contact with rodent excrement; however, in 2005 and 2019, human-to-human transmission of the Andes virus was reported in South America. Hantavirus infections have been reported from all continents except Australia.
Hantavirus is named for the Hantan River area in South Korea where an early outbreak was observed.
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