Hantavirus

By: Josh Robbins

Basic Information

Hantavirus is an infectious disease that affects your lungs. The Hantavirus antibodies puncture the capillaries, making the plasma in them flood your lungs. With your lungs flooded, it suffocates you. The Hantavirus in the USA is transmitted from animal to person. The antibodies of Hantavirus are so hard to identify that normally, without help, the victim dies before they can get treatment. Now with the technological advances, doctors have been able to create a machine that can identify the virus before the symptoms get too bad.

Symptoms

Most of the Hantavirus symptoms start one to five weeks after you are exposed. Some of the symptoms include: some flu like (vomiting,fever,chills), dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, excessive sweating, and if not treated, or you are just unlucky, death.

Locations of Hantavirus

In the United States, Hantavirus is in the "Southwest Corner". Which is the borders of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah. There are many other types of Hantavirus all over the Europe, Asia and all over the Eastern Hemishphere

Stats

The Hantavirus in the United States has about a 50% fatality rate, since it has no cure. In 1993, which was by far the worst year of Hantavirus, 10 out of 18 victims died. In the next 12 years 27 people died. There are an estimated amount of 150,000-200,00 cases a year. Hantavirus is very rare is highly populated areas. It's mostly found where there are lots of rodents, or scarcely populated ares. One of the cases in the Western USA, was in Yosemite National Park in 2012. There were two cases within a couple of weeks, so they might have had to close that section where the cases happened. One of them resulted in fatality.

Prevention

Since rodents are the carriers of Hantavirus, one big way to keep them away is to set mouse traps in your home and workplace. You should also block off areas a quarter of an inch or larger. If you happen to come into contact with a rodent in an infected area, wet the rodent and the surrounding spot with bleach, alcohol, or disinfectant to reduce the chance of the particles to go airborne.

Cure

Hantavirus has no proven cure, making it potentially dangerous. But if you recognize it early enough, and can get to a hospital they can put you on breathing support and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. But even with those things you still will probably have a 50-50 chance of survival.

Organ Systems

Hantavirus mainly affects your respiratory and circulatory systems. It affects the lungs when they get filled with plasma from the capillaries, making you suffocate (respiratory), and that can affect your heart efficiency (circulatory).

Transmission/Cause

The cause of Hantavirus is the deer mouse. They are one of the only rodents that can carry Hantavirus without getting infected. They spread it in their droppings, urine, and saliva when it gets kicked up you inhale it. Or if you get bitten by a deer mouse, or if you eat infected food that a deer mouse might have gotten into. Hantavirus is not person-to-person transmitted, you have to come into contact with some part of the deer mouse.

Similar Diseases

Hantavirus commonly gets mixed up with the flu or pneumonia. Most of the early symptoms are similar to the common flu virus. Like fevers, chills, headaches, and vomiting. The later symptoms are more like pneumonia. Except the one difference between Pneumonia and Hantavirus is that in Pneumonia the lungs get flooded with pus instead of plasma.

Early History

All of the earliest cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome were all of young Navajo Tribe members. Hantavirus was mainly targeting younger people because that's when their immune system is weakest. One of the very first cases of Hantavirus was of a young man that collapsed on the ground and died on his way to his wife's funeral, who apparently died of the same thing. It wasn't until later that researchers found out that 20 years earlier, people were dying of the same thing. It had just gone unnoticed.

Big Outbreaks

The earliest outbreak of Hantavirus in the USA was the 1993 Four-Corners Outbreak, where the young Navajo tribe members were all falling ill. And in 1951, over 3,000 US soldiers fell ill with another type of Hantavirus called Hantaan Virus which was named after the Hantaan River where the soldiers died. This outbreak happened in the Korean War when medical attention wasn't very good.

Historians Thoughts

When Hantavirus first showed up in the United States, researchers were shocked. Up until that point, in their minds, Hantavirus was limited to the Eastern Hemisphere. But now that they know that Hantavirus is not only in the Eastern Hemisphere, they've noticed that people have been dying of diseases with symptoms much like Hantavirus in almost every continent, at least 50 years ago. Doctors also thought that Hantavirus was person-to-person transmission because of the couple that died within a week of each other. But after further research, they found that all the victims came into contact with a type of rodent. And when they did experiments, they noticed that Hantavirus couldn't be passed from person to person.

Other Hantavirus

I think the three most noticeable types of Hantavirus are: HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome), which is the kind that is in the United States. Another kind is the Hantaan Virus in Korea, which is the main kind that the US soldiers fell ill with during the Korean War. The last kind of Hantavirus is the Hemorrhagic Fever, and that also happened during the Korean War, but wasn't as deadly as the Hantaan Virus.

Present Day

Even today Hantavirus exists all over the earth in one type or another. This is because doctors have yet to find a cure. Although they are currently working on it, even with the most advanced technology , they haven't broken through yet. Some pieces of the cure probably have been found by now, but they're still missing key parts that on;y patient zero might have had. But, with better antibiotics and other machines, the fatality rate is reducing.

Interesting Facts

The American Hantavirus (HPS) is also called Sin Nombre Virus or The Virus With No Name, because doctors couldn't find a name for the virus that wouldn't offend the Navajo Tribe. The name Hantavirus got it's name from a river. And the least deadly type of Hantavirus has one-tenth of a percent fatality rate.

Bibliography

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