In a follow-up on the hantavirus outbreak in Argentina, since November 2, 2018, the Argentine Republic has faced an outbreak of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), the most recent cases were reported on February 7, 2019. To date, there have been 34 confirmed cases and 12 deaths, according to a letter to ProMED Mail from Gustavo Palacios, USAMRIID (computer translated).
The initial propagation occurred in Epuyén, province of Chubut, in the Andean region. Other cases have been reported in the province of Río Negro; A case exported in Chile has also been disclosed.
The Andes virus (ANDV, genus Orthohantavirus, family Hantaviridae) has been confirmed as the etiological agent. Its most common reservoir is the long-tailed pygmy rice rat.
Secondary infections from human to human are considered rare, but can occur through direct contact with infected saliva, urine or blood.
A cooperative research group, including USAMRIID, used next generation sequencing technologies to characterize and quickly analyze the transmission patterns of ANDV.
According to Palacios:
The preliminary phylogenetic analysis suggests that the analyzed variants belong to the genotype of the “Southern” Andes virus. The closest relative available for the segment of S (gene most used in the characterization of molecular epidemiology for Hantavirus) is the strain “Andes virus AH-1” (S segment, GenBank number AF324902). The level of variation observed among the sequences of the current outbreak is minimal (99.9%), as might be expected from human-to-human transmission. Given that these 11 complete genomes were obtained from well-established linked cases, and based also on the low abundance of rodents detected in the area, it is possible to rule out an event of super-infecting rodents (super-spreader).
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