Amid Corona pandemic, fear of spread of Hantavirus has started to grow along the Indo-Bhutan border in Baksa district of Assam.
People in Nagrijuli and Kumarikata of Baksa district are panic-stricken after they came to know that a man died in Yunnan province of China after testing positive to Hantavirus.
The Chinese man died while on his way back to Shandong Province on a chartered bus. Reports said 32 other people have been tested positive.
The villagers in Tamulpur sub-division of Baksa district are worried because Hantavirus may cause a new pandemic along the Indo-Bhutan border.
They have come to know that Hantavirus usually come into contact with rodents — rat and mice. Rodents are carrier of Hantavirus.
Traditionally, Adivasi population along the Indo-Bhutan border consumes rodents in large numbers, and rats are sold in open markets.
Adivasis in the area believe that rat meat has medicinal value, and is an excellent treatment for Diabetes.
As a result, rats are openly sold in the markets, and fetch Rs 200 to 250 per kg in Kumarikata and Nagrijuli weekly markets.
It is a lucrative business, and farmers lay bamboo traps to rice-field rats.
The farmers catch the rice-field rats firstly to save their crops, and secondly to either consume the rat meat, or sell them in the weekly markets.
The villagers in Kumarikata and Nagrijuli are worried after they heard that Hantavirus can be contracted if someone touches their eyes, nose or mouth after touching rodent droppings, urine, or nesting materials.
Early symptoms of Hantavirus include fever, headache, muscle ache, abdominal pain, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems.
Hantavirus patients also have symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Late symptoms include lungs fill with fluid and shortness of breath.