A case of hantavirus was confirmed in Chubut province in Southern Argentina. The patient is a 29-year-old man who works at the Esquel Pescadores Club within the Los Alerces National Park. Currently, the man is admitted to intensive care at the local Zonal Hospital with severe respiratory failure on mechanical respiratory assistance.
On January 12, the patient was admitted to the Trevelin Rural Hospital. However, he had to be referred to the Zonal Hospital of Esquel in order to be treated in intensive care.
Given this situation, a meeting was held between the Northwest Program Area, the Municipality of Esquel, Los Alerces National Park and the Esquel Fishermen’s Club to evaluate the next steps to follow. It was defined to isolate the close contacts of the 29-year-old worker, in addition to carrying out an inspection in the environment and doing a survey to identify possible places of contagion.
In addition, local media assured that the Environmental Health and Zoonosis area of the Province will deploy rodent capture operations to evaluate the epidemiological situation . In any case, it was reported that Los Alerces National Park will keep its doors open. In the provincial health portfolio they recommended, among other points:
- Use designated sites for camping or day detention.
- Do not sleep in contact with the grass.
- Travel on designated trails.
- Maintain hand and food hygiene.
- Consume safe water and do not collect wild fruits in areas where the presence of rodents is evident.
Hantavirus infection is a serious acute viral disease, which is transmitted by voles, through their saliva, feces and urine and for which there is no vaccine.
The most frequent cause of transmission is inhalation, when breathing in places where infected mice, through their secretions, have contaminated the environment with the Hanta virus.
The disease can also be transmitted by direct contact, by touching infected rodents, live or dead, or their feces or urine. The least common form of transmission is the bite of mice.
The symptoms of hantavirus can be confused with a flu-like state, with the presence of fever, muscle pain, chills, headache. These symptoms can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Later, there may be respiratory distress with serious complications.
In Argentina there are two species of hantavirus (Andes and Laguna Negra) and at least 10 different viral genotypes.
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