Should Indians worry about the Hantavirus that killed one man in China?

The hantavirus that killed one man in China on Monday has sparked panic, given that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 originated from the Xi Jinping-ruled nation. While the Chinese media tried to supress information when the disease broke out, it had to concede at the end that China was the epicentre of the disease, which has now become a global pandemic. However, Chinese authorities even accused the United States of bringing the disease to China, but that is for another article.

With the virus striking an individual in China, the question arises: Has India ever recorded cases of hantavirus?

The answer is yes. There have been several cases recorded, but some of the most famous ones include the following:

In 2008, 28 people from the Irula community in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district reported contracting the virus. The community mainly comprises snake and rat catchers, Nature India reported

While there were no reported cases of the virus during the 1994 plague that hit Surat, there were speculations that people had contracted the virus in Gujarat during that period, a Down to Earth magazine report claimed.

In 2016, a 12-year-old boy in Mumbai died of the disease. Reports at the time said he was bleeding from the lungs, a characteristic common to the virus.

Although 15-20 percent of deer mice are infected with hantavirus, it's rare for humans to contract the disease, mostly because the virus dies shortly after contact with sunlight, and it can't spread from one person to another.

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