A BUS passenger in China died after becoming infected with a virus with similar symptoms to Covid-19 that is spread by rats, it was reported.
The man was on his way back to work in northern Shandong province when he took ill and died from what tests revealed to be the hantavirus.
The country’s state-owned Global Times newspaper tweeted that the man from Yunnan province, in the south-west of China, was heading to work on a chartered bus on Monday.
The other 32 people travelling on the same bus were tested for the hantavirus and no other cases were reported, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
A special team has been dispatched to Ningshan county for a response and people there are being screened for the disease.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hantavirus pathogens are mainly spread between rodents.
In very rare cases, the disease can be passed to humans and though rare, it carries a 38 per cent death rate, according to the CDC.
People infected by hantavirus will show symptoms including fever, bleeding and kidney damage, according to experts from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The incubation period of hantavirus is usually seven to 14 days, with rare cases showing symptoms as short as four days or as long as two months.
Early symptoms include exhaustion, vomiting and reddish cheeks.
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One patient likened it to “a tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face,” the CDC said.
Dr Sumaiya Shaikh, a Swedish scientist, tweeted: “The #Hantavirus first emerged in 1950s in the American-Korean war in Korea (Hantan river).
“It spreads from rat/mice if humans ingest their body fluids.
“Human-human transmission is rare. Please do not panic, unless you plan to eat rats.”
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