Eduardo Lpez, Chief of the Department of Medicine of the Hospital Ricardo Gutirrez, explained some issues related to the outbreak of hantavirus which is being developed in some locations. In dialogue with The Intransigent, the doctor referred to the outbreak recorded in the province of Chubut and insisted on trying to detect the symptoms in time.
O Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday three new cases of hantavirus death in the province of Chubut, where there were already nine fatalities and 24 confirmed cases. The infectologist explained that there are different types of hantavirus according to geographic location. What predominates in the south is called Hantavirus Andes, although all have as reservoir different types of rodents that eliminate the virus through urine, feces and saliva.
Explained to The uncompromisingThis virus "goes on the air" and spreads in the environment in places that remain closed, like warehouses or abandoned houses. In this way, it can be infected by breathing particles that remain suspended in the air or touching elements that are contaminated by the presence of rodents. There are also "rare cases" of transmission between people through close contacts, "as demonstrated in Argentina and also in Chile," said the doctor.
Once acquired, the virus can produce a respiratory disease that has an incubation period of one to three weeks, which manifests itself as having a feverish state and, in the most severe cases, produces a severe pulmonary compromise. "This hantavirus syndrome, on the occasion, requires intensive therapy and, in severe situations, the mortality reaches 30% of the cases, there is no antiviral treatment, but the supportive treatment and the early diagnosis," explained the doctor.
"If someone goes indoors, they are left for a long time, especially in the peri-semi-rural or semi-rural areas, first open the doors of these sheds, blow them up, let the sunlight in, do not sweep them, and do not touch utensils.If you do not wear a mask and gloves, and wash your hands often, "he recommends.
In the city of Epuyn in Chubut, declared health quarantine for the outbreak that the area suffers. Lopez explained that in quarantine cases, the most logical thing is to try to block the number of cases. "These people should be isolated in some way so as not to infect others, wear masks to check or treat them, wash their hands frequently, and detect cases that seem to treat them early."
The measures to be taken also depend on the characteristics of the site. In this sense, the expert explained that hantavirus in general does not occur in urban populations, but in areas where these mice circulate, such as semi-rural areas or places with a moderate population. "That these cases are generated in the south does not mean that we will have hantaviruses in the province of Buenos Aires as an outbreak or in the federal capital," he explains.
Finally, Lopez said that, over time, most patients recover, and only 30% of cases reach mortality, and insisted on trying to detect symptoms in time. "The point is that if you detect it slowly and do not make a diagnosis and believe it is a viral condition, there may be a catastrophe, which is the image that causes respiratory distress with cardiorespiratory insufficiency," he concluded.