In our continuing coverage on the hantavirus outbreak in Chubut Province of Patagonia in southern Argentina, the outbreak had prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a notice for people traveling to the region.
The World Health Organization reported last week that between 28 October 2018 – 20 January of 2019, a total of 29 laboratory-confirmed cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), including 11 deaths have been reported in Epuyén, Chubut Province.
Health officials say travelers to Argentina should avoid areas that are infested with rodents or where they see signs of rodents (such as droppings or nests). Travelers should also keep their accommodations and campsites clean and disinfect areas that have signs of rodents if possible.
Because Andes virus can also spread between people, travelers should wash hands often and avoid close contact (such as kissing, having sex, or spending a long time together in a close physical space) with anyone who may be sick.
Andes virus is a species of hantavirus found in some rodents in South America. Humans can be infected with the Andes virus through contact with infected rodents or their droppings.
Unlike other hantaviruses, Andes virus can also be spread through close contact with a person who is sick with Andes virus.
Early symptoms can look similar to the flu and may include headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea. Like other hantaviruses, Andes virus infection can lead to a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease called HPS. Symptoms of HPS include coughing, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs.
Travelers who develop symptoms during or after their trip should see a doctor right away. They should tell the doctor where they traveled in Argentina and whether they had contact with a rodent or sick person.
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