According to the Ministry of Health, 22 cases of hantavirus were registered in Brazil, with ten confirmed deaths through September 2022.
In Brazil, wild rodents known as wood mouse and rice mouse (Akodon sp. and Oligoryzomys sp., respectively) are hantavirus reservoirs and differ from those most frequently found in urban environments because they are small (the adult male reaches 25 grams) and live close to crops, mainly grain.
The disease can cause Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS). It is an acute viral zoonosis caused by an RNA virus, belonging to the Hantaviridae family and Orthohantavirus genus. Human infection occurs mainly by inhalation of aerosols in the form of dust generated by sweeping, formed from the urine, feces and saliva of infected rodents. Other forms of transmission are skin abrasions or rodent bites, contact of the virus with the conjunctival mucosa, mouth or nose via hands contaminated with rodent excreta.
From contact with the virus, about 1 to 5 weeks on average, in the initial phase, the most common symptoms are fever, joint pain, headache, lower back and abdominal pain, nausea, fever and vomiting. When it reaches the cardiopulmonary phase, it is common for the person to experience fever, difficulty breathing, breathing accelerated, heart rate intensity, dry cough and low blood pressure. In this phase, it is also possible to develop noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, with the patient progressing to acute respiratory failure and circulatory shock. Therefore, if you present signs and symptoms suggestive of hantavirus, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
There is no specific treatment. Supportive therapeutic measures are recommended.
Control measures must contain actions such as, for example, clearing the land around the house, giving adequate disposal to existing debris, keeping food stored in closed and rodent-proof containers, in addition to other measures that prevent human interaction. and wild rodents, in places where the presence of these animals is known. Avoid handling rodents, even dead ones. If this is necessary, it is important to wear rubber gloves and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
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