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China man dies from hantavirus; all you need to know about the virus, its spread

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Even as the world is gripped by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and facing a disaster like never before with 20 per cent of the population under lockdown, a man in China, who had tested positive for hantavirus, died on Monday.

Chinese media reported that the man from Yunnan Province died while on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a bus on Monday. The 32 other passengers on the bus were also tested for the virus.

The novel Coronavirus, which is reported to have emerged from a seafood market in China’s Wuhan in December last year, has killed over 3,200 people in the country.

There are 383,944 cases of novel coronavirus and 16,595 deaths globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking figures from the World Health Organization and additional sources.

What is hantavirus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hantavirus is a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents and can cause varied disease syndromes in people worldwide. Infection with any hantavirus can produce hantavirus disease in people.

Each hantavirus serotype has a specific rodent host species and is spread to people via aerosolized virus that is shed in urine, feces, and saliva, and less frequently by a bite from an infected host. It is not airborne.

It can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

Signs and Symptoms

Due to the small number of HPS cases, the “incubation time” is not positively known. However, on the basis of limited information, it appears that symptoms may develop between 1 and 8 weeks after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents.

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath and chest discomfort.

HPS can be fatal. It has a mortality rate of 38%.

Diagnosing HPS

Diagnosing HPS in an individual who has only been infected a few days is difficult, because early symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and fatigue are easily confused with influenza.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection. However, we do know that if infected individuals are recognized early and receive medical care in an intensive care unit, they may do better. In intensive care, patients are intubated and given oxygen therapy to help them through the period of severe respiratory distress.

The earlier the patient is brought in to intensive care, the better. If a patient is experiencing full distress, it is less likely the treatment will be effective.

What is hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS)

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a group of clinically similar illnesses caused by hantaviruses from the family Bunyaviridae. HFRS includes diseases such as Korean hemorrhagic fever, epidemic hemorrhagic fever, and nephropathia epidemica.

Symptoms of HFRS

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 begin suddenly and include intense headaches, back and abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision. Individuals may have flushing of the face, inflammation or redness of the eyes, or a rash. Later symptoms can include low blood pressure, acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure, which can cause severe fluid overload.

Fatality of HFRS

Depending upon which virus is causing the HFRS, death occurs in less than 1% to as many as 15% of patients. Fatality ranges from 5-15% for HFRS caused by Hantaan virus, and it is less than 1% for disease caused by Puumala virus.

Who are at risk of hantavirus infection

Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk of HPS. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus.

Any activity that puts you in contact with rodent droppings, urine, saliva, or nesting materials can place you at risk for infection. Hantavirus is spread when virus-containing particles from rodent urine, droppings, or saliva are stirred into the air. It is important to avoid actions that raise dust, such as sweeping or vacuuming. Infection occurs when you breathe in virus particles.

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Do you want electric buses to operate in your neighborhood too? Send your suggestions here.

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Image Source: PTI

A survey is being conducted in Delhi to initiate small-sized electric neighborhood buses on congested roads. The Delhi Transport Department has commenced an extensive ground survey to determine suitable routes for neighborhood bus services in different areas of Delhi. This survey will run from June 1st to June 15th, with 23 technical teams deployed in various locations across Delhi for study purposes.

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot stated that the Delhi government has never purchased more than 2000 feeder buses before this initiative. The 9-meter buses will operate on routes where 12-meter buses are unable to reach. Delhi residents can also share their feedback and suggestions regarding the neighborhood buses at mohallabusfeedback [at] gmail.com.

To ensure the inclusion of public suggestions, teams have been formed by the Transport Department to gather insights from the people of Delhi. This will guarantee that all significant routes are covered by these neighborhood buses.

The technical teams involved in the survey will visit metro stations, bus terminals, bus stops, and different areas of Delhi. The survey will focus on the following four aspects:

  1. Assessment of travel demand: The survey teams will examine last-mile connectivity in each area and study the transportation needs of the general public for such connectivity.
  2. Road network: The survey teams will assess road width, encroachments, and obstacles encountered during bus operations.
  3. Public transport connectivity: All teams will determine the distance travelers need to cover to reach public transport. A Pakistani team will also investigate the availability of other public transport options in the area.
  4. Para-transit connectivity: The availability of options such as e-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, and other para-transit services in specific areas will also be surveyed.

According to the information received from the Transport Department, the data collected during this survey will be digitized. It will be used to determine the origin and destination of proposed neighborhood bus services in each area. Additionally, the survey aims to identify potential routes that will benefit the maximum number of passengers through neighborhood buses.

It should be noted that Kailash Gahlot, Delhi’s Finance Minister, who also serves as the Transport Minister, announced the Neighborhood Bus Plan in the budget speech. The objective of this plan is to deploy 9-meter-long electric buses to provide local or feeder bus services. The Kejriwal government has planned to operate a total of 2,180 such buses by 2025. The neighborhood buses will be specifically operated in those areas of Delhi where road width is limited or regular operation of 12-meter buses is difficult due to congestion.

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Delhi’s Coolest May in 36 Years: Record-Breaking Temperatures and Abundant Rainfall

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Image: PTI

Delhi has recently witnessed a remarkable drop in temperatures during the month of May, marking it as the coolest May in the past 36 years. This significant shift can be attributed to the abundant rainfall that showered the city over the course of two weeks.

Surprisingly, Delhi encountered an unusual 11 days of rainfall, which is quite uncommon for this hot summer month. Data provided by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reveals that the average maximum temperature recorded in May this year was 36.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1987. It is worth mentioning that in May 1987, the Safdarjung weather station recorded an even lower average maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius, according to IMD scientist Kuldeep Srivastava.

To put things into perspective, the average maximum temperature in May last year was a scorching 40.1 degrees Celsius. The stark contrast in temperatures this year can be attributed to the five active western disturbances that affected the northwest plains of India. Srivastava highlighted that while the region usually experiences two to three western disturbances during this period, this year marked the fifth one.

Delhi received a staggering 111 mm of rainfall in May, which was 262 percent above the normal average of 30.7 mm for the month. The city has also witnessed above-normal rainfall in March, April, and May, accumulating a total of 184.3 mm during the pre-monsoon season. This figure represents an excess of 186 percent compared to the average of 64.4 mm.

Furthermore, the Safdarjung weather station did not record any instances of a heatwave throughout May, although other weather stations in the vicinity reported heatwave conditions. The copious rainfall and gusty winds not only provided relief from the scorching heat but also improved Delhi’s air quality. On Wednesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 85, falling under the ‘satisfactory’ category. In contrast, on May 23, when there was no rainfall, the AQI soared to 198, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Remarkably, data from the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) shows that the average PM10 and PM2.5 levels from January to May this year have been the second lowest since 2016. The lowest levels were observed in 2020 due to the summer lockdown.

In conclusion, Delhi’s unusual weather patterns in May, marked by the lowest temperatures in over three decades and abundant rainfall, have brought relief from the scorching heat and improved air quality in the city.

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Delhi Government Introduces Small Electric ‘Mohalla Buses’ for Improved Public Transport.

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Image: PTI

The Delhi government is taking a big step towards improving the city’s public transportation system by introducing small-sized electric “Mohalla Buses” on the streets. To make sure they identify the areas where these buses are needed and determine the best routes for them, the Transport Department has launched a comprehensive 15-day evaluation campaign. Starting from Thursday, teams of experts will be deployed in different areas until June 15 to conduct the study.

This means that soon we’ll have these convenient and eco-friendly buses operating throughout Delhi! Isn’t that exciting?

But that’s not all! The government has also come up with a plan to purchase over 2,000 feeder buses. These buses will serve routes where the regular 12-meter buses can’t go. So, it will make traveling much more convenient for all the bus commuters out there!

To ensure that they cover all the important areas and connect the major attractions in the city, They are forming teams across Delhi to gather feedback from the people. Their input will help them determine the most suitable routes for these Mohalla Buses. After all, They want to make sure that everyone benefits from this new and improved public transport system!

So get ready, Delhiites! Exciting changes are on the horizon, making your daily commute more comfortable and sustainable.

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