Endemic disease expert soothes public worry about hantavirus

A medical worker takes off his protective gear in China's Yunan province on Feb 9, 2020.
A medical worker takes off his protective gear in China's Yunan province on Feb 9, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUNMING (XINHUA) - An endemic disease expert has asked the public not to panic over a rumoured hantavirus outbreak following a reported death.

The disease caused by the hantavirus is a category B infectious disease, said Dr Zuo Shifu with the Yunnan Institute of Endemic Diseases Control and Prevention, in south-west China's Yunnan Province.

Yunnan has reported 1,231 such infections from 2015 to 2019, with only one death, Dr Zuo said.

"No human-to-human transmission has ever been reported, and there is a vaccine for it," Dr Zuo said. "The public does not need to worry."

A migrant worker from Yunnan recently died in north-west China's Shaanxi Province on the way back to work, and a nucleic acid test found the worker was positive for the hantavirus.

Dr Zuo explained that the ways in which hantavirus could be transmitted include animal sources such as rats carrying the virus, as well as mites on the rats.

The mortality rate due to the disease has been about 0.83 per cent in the past 10 years, Dr Zuo said.

As medical conditions have improved in recent years, most patients can be spotted and cured.

"The toxicity of the virus is weak, which is why the mortality rate is low," he added.