A man in China tests positive for hantavirus. No, it’s nothing like coronavirus.

A passenger who died on a bus in China tested positive for hantavirus, an infection spread by rodents.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention

An electron micrograph of the hantovirus.

By Ani Tutunjyan, Executive Editor & Print Editor-in-Chief

A man in China has reportedly died on a bus while traveling to Shandong Province in China and tested positive for a completely different virus from covid-19 — one more fatal that produces very similar symptoms. 

“He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested,” the state-run Global Times announced in a Tweet Monday, offering no further details.

The new virus sparked panic among many on social media, with #hantavirus trending, which was discovered in China just after the nation announced that it will start lifting its quarantines, where the coronavirus originated.

Experts pointed out that it is not a new virus and is rarely passed between humans. 

The hantavirus first emerged in the 1950s in the American-Korean War in Korea by the Hantan river. It spreads from rats and mice if humans are to ingest their body fluids.

Although the virus is rare, its mortality rate is 38 percent, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explained.

“Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people,” the CDC added.

Symptoms may occur up to eight weeks “after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents,” the CDC said. 

The symptoms may mirror those reported from the coronavirus with victims reporting fevers, coughing and shortness of breath.

The 32 people onboard the bus with the man were tested for the virus. The results were unclear.