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“There are more viruses  on Earth than stars in the universe.If you stacked every virus end to end,they would stretch 100,000 light years”



No matter how advanced the mankind is, the hidden universe of pathogens shows us on daily level that we are still endangered and that our existence on the Earth can not be assured by any medical boom. That is almost like a race between humans and the Planet. People have technologies and Mother Nature fights us with her invisible fanatical army of microbes which do not give up.

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The science has no break in studying germs because the research projects seem like simulation of life and death. After they  find cure for one disease, the next one occurs and the question is for how long we will as a human race managed to stay resistible on all threats from the Earth side, without being scared from all mysteries  we can not solve under microscope.

What the world knows about hantavirus? Enough to be informed but not enough to be relaxed because as many other viruses, hantavirus is a serious attacker on humane immune system and has no limits in distraction of host’s organism. First of all, we should talk about hantaviruses due the fact that many viruses with similar characteristic join into one family or group.They can  usually be found in rodents as main vectors of viral transmission and when certain mice or rats are in contact with people, they make virus jump from one species to another one and to cause a serious viral infection. In our case, the name is HPS or  hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. That was a main reason why CDC informed people in the US to try not to have direct contact with  deer mouse, the white-footed mouse,the rice rat, and the cotton rat.They may carry a hantavirus but sometimes it is also confirmed that some of them simply do not carry any sign of virus. People can get easily infected if they do have first-hand touch  with infected rodents, their urine, saliva or feces,  so the cases are reported all around the USA, except the Alaska and Hawaii.


First, we should know that hantavirus is  negative, single-stranded, enveloped RNA virus, belonging to family  Bunyaviridae, so called vector-borne viruses. Considering two forms of serious viral illness, we must make distinction between old and new hantaviruses. Based on CDC writing, the Sin Nombre is a new type of virus, discovered in 1993 and causing the HPS today in the world and also around America. The old type is Old world hantavirus which could be found in all countries which are dealing with rodents invasion and it causes HFRS, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome.The both are very dangerous if the treatment is failed or we are late to give medical care.



The problem is often to give a right diagnosis because the symptoms of HPS, such as fever, severe muscle aches , fatigue can be mistaken with influenza but then after virus progression with the patient’s body, comes totally different clinical picture: headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain followed by heart breathing. There is no specific cure, treatment or vaccine for this disease but if the infected is diagnosed early,the chances are bigger for recovery, especially after respiratory distress and offered oxygen therapy. The experts always warn that targeted population is one close to area where there are potential virus carriers, rodents. So, if anyone who knows he has been in contact with rodents or doubts on it, must visit doctor as soon as possible. The good fact about this infection is lack of possibility to be spread by the chain  human-to-human which keeps the virus under control but there is a segment of airborne transmission, particularly when someone breathes in the tiny droplets from rodent urine or salva,  which contain the virus.



The HFRS gathers all illnesses which are shaped by some of Hantaviruses from old type.According to CDC, this virus could be found everywhere but especially in China, Russia, and Korea:“HFRS includes diseases such as Korean hemorrhagic fever, epidemic hemorrhagic fever, and nephropathia epidemica. The viruses that cause HFRS include Hantaan, Dobrava, Saaremaa, Seoul, and Puumala.Puumala virus is found in Scandinavia, western Europe, and western Russia. Dobrava virus is found primarily in the Balkans, and Seoul virus is found worldwide. Saaremaa is found in central Europe and Scandinavia. In the Americas, hantaviruses cause a different disease known as HPS.”


The striped field mouse  is  known as  reservoir for both the Saaremaa and Hantaan virus, the brown or Norway rat  is the reservoir for Seoul virus, the bank vole carries Puumala virus and the yellow-necked field mouse brings Dobrava virus. The initial symptoms Symptoms of HFRS usually develop within 1 to 2 weeks after exposure to infectious material, but in rare cases, they may take up to 8 weeks to develop. Initial symptoms include intense headaches, back and abdominal pain, fever, nausea as well as blurred vision. Then later come low blood pressure, acute shock and acute kidney failure.It depends on which type of virus is. Fatality depends on the subtype of the virus and if the medical support is late or it is given the wrong diagnosis, the fatal rate goes from very low less than 1% to very high up to 15% or more.


The old hantavirus and HFRS brings chaos in eastern parts of Asia while HPS is interested in American ground. Just in last year, 2016, Utah and New Mexico, were fighting a battle against rodent carriers of this dangerous bug and medical magazine Outbreak News Today writes:“‘Deer mice can be found throughout New Mexico, so people everywhere in the state should take precautions,’ said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the department’s public health veterinarian. ‘Cleaning up rodent droppings and nesting material in enclosed spaces can concentrate the virus in stirred up particles that can be breathed in, so people need to be very careful when cleaning up mouse infested areas. Using a disinfectant spray on areas with rodent droppings and waiting 15 or 20 minutes before cleaning will kill the virus and decrease your risk.'”

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The situation about hantavirus is not urgent, at the end of the day, we are not talking about deadly Ebola. The epidemics of this type of molecular sharks must be considered in the frame of recommendations by experts who deal with the consequences of unleashed viruses every single day. When they suggest the caution, then it doesn’t mean to be in panic or scared but rather warned and prepared to think of causes and outcomes,the natural inputs and outputs.  At this moment, the mentioned  diseases has no capacity to cause the global epidemics or the frightful outbreaks but they aren’t naive either. It is all about good information and behaviour on the field, mainly when it comes to the infection or the signs of infections. The biggest problem is lack of knowledge among people who might be  the first victims of the virus. They do not need biohazards suits when they deal in the zone full of rodents but they must have epidemic  procedures of prevention rather than sanitation.


The hantavirus has many children and each of them is lurking the people, more or less. All we can do is to prevent the possibility to be in touch with immunity eaters and invisible batalon of demolition.Even if we somehow crossed the line, we must react on time, without fear but with high  level of awareness because the price of opposite behaviour is deadly.




  1. Thank you, Sarah, for this very informative article!

    There are a few of your articles that relate to viruses, and microbes and the potential impact they may have on our health.

    This is like a trilogy if we look at your prior articles, namely, Rabies-Fatal virus with enigmatic nature, October 13, 2016, NIPAH virus: The monster comes from illegal exotic meats, October 22, 2016, and this article, herein, Hantavirus: Infection rodents bring fatal desease, January 22, 2017.

    The common thread to the above three articles is that they all stem from viruses, not microbes or bacteria!

    Your article has helped us be aware of the potential desease, and how proper sanitation may greatly reduce its impact on us.

    Thank you, and we look forward to reading and enjoying your future articles!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In all probability, there are more than a trillion undocumented organisms on planet Earth. The potential for the evolution of specific viruses/diseases is incalculable. Sarah’s article articulates this probability. The fragility of organic existence on planet Earth is rarely acknowledged by governments and their corporate masters; all who seem bent upon destroying the very biodiversity that keeps in check Nature’s unpredictable evolution. The more humans interfere with Nature, the more unpredictable viruses/diseases become… Globalization guarantees the spread of epidemics; as in the case of HIV Aids, in the 1980s. Arguably, the year 1492 represents a definitive planetary moment in history when humans altered ecological systems, significantly, between continents. The negative consequences of this are being suffered still…

    Thank you Sarah for being steadfast in your efforts to publicise the realities of viruses that affect us all, as a species!

    Liked by 1 person

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !