By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

In the past several weeks, the Ministry of Health in Bolivia have reported five cases of hemorrhagic febrile syndrome of unknown etiology with suspected human-to-human transmission.

Image/Robert Herriman

Three of the cases are healthcare workers and the other 2 cases are agricultural workers.  Of the five, three cases have died.

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Laboratory testing by facilities in Bolivia (CENETROP) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported the identification of an Arenavirus. The Arenavirus identified was partially sequenced and shows a high identity with Chapare virus.

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), among the 21 known New World Arenaviruses, five have been linked to hemorrhagic fevers in humans, including two in Bolivia: Machupo and Chapare.

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Officials say the likely site of exposure for the healthcare workers was the hospital setting, where they had direct contact with blood, respiratory, and gastrointestinal secretions during invasive procedures (intubation and endoscopy) that were performed for one of the cases. For the agricultural workers, exposure likely occurred during the rice harvest in the Siliamo community, Guanay Municipality, La Paz Department.

PAHO notes: The clinical manifestations of hemorrhagic fevers due to Arenavirus in South America are acute viral febrile illnesses that last between 6 to 14 days. The illness starts gradually, with general malaise, headache, retro-orbital pain, conjunctival hyperemia, and moderate but sustained fever, followed by signs and symptoms related to the digestive system. There may be bruises and ecchymosis, accompanied with erythema on the face, neck, and upper chest. Progressive leukopenia and thrombocytopenia are characteristic of severe cases. Symptoms typically resolve 10 to 15 days after the onset of illness in patients who survive.

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