De Griselda Acuña [email protected]
The fatal cases and, above all, the outbreak in Epuyén, Chubut province, have placed hantavirus on the national health agenda. The disease transmitted by the mouse colilargo aroused the fear in all the Argentine geography and Misiones is no exception.
Taking into account that the province is among the endemic areas of hantavirus, which means that, regardless of the occurrence of the cases, the pathology will always be present in this corner of the country. "The four provinces of Buenos Aires, Salta and Jujuy were identified in the north of the country (Salta, Jujuy), Central (Buenos Aires, Santa Fé and Entre Ríos), Northeast (Misiones) and Sur (Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut) are historically the ones that reported the highest frequency of cases, "according to the Integrated Epidemiological Surveillance Bulletin in its section Monitoring the National Situation of Hantavirus.
The part recently published by the Ministry of Health of the Nation corresponds to January 23, and also states that in 2018 Misiones had a confirmed case of hantavirus, while in 2017 there were three reports of suspected cases but without definitive confirmation.
On the other hand, a few days ago, Minister Walter Villalba confirmed that four samples of patients suspected of hantavirus were sent to the Malbrán Institute in Buenos Aires. He clarified that although the clinical possibility is very low, they were sent by strict protocol.
In this context, the technicians of the Environmental Sanitation Department, dependent on the provincial health portfolio, carry out an awareness raising action, emphasizing the importance of the population to keep the spaces clean.
"The disease arises from the fact that the vector is a mouse, and that in general they look for food, so they should not leave the food exposed, which the mouse consumes out of the house, through urine or fecal matter that when they dry they inhale, and in this way they can infect people, and after an incubation time they begin the symptoms that are normally respiratory, so they should go to the doctor, do not self-medicate and follow the indications of the professional. "
Hansavirus, unlike leptospirosis, has as its reservoir mice from wild areas, not from cities.
Demand for rat bait
Although in Misiones there are no records of humans infected with the hanta virus in this last period, the alerts come from cases of leptospirosis in study in Oberá, and the neighbor of San Pedro that should have been treated in Samic of Eldorado.
The consultations and requests for rat removal baits that the Municipality of Posadas distribute free of charge at each Territorial Integration Center (CIT) have been increasing since last December.
"Demand has increased in recent weeks, especially in cases of hantavirus in the south of the country, not so much because of leptospirosis," he said.
So far in January, almost 100 pounds of bait were delivered, while in 2018, 1,000 pounds were distributed.
Hantavirus: emergent zoonosis
"Hantavirus disease is an emerging zoonosis produced by RNA viruses belonging to the Bunyaviridae family.
The viruses have a worldwide distribution and produce two severe clinical forms in humans: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Asia and Europe and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome in America, "as specified in the national epidemiological report. wild rodents, natural reservoirs, which present a chronic asymptomatic infection and eliminate the virus through urine, saliva and excreta. "
Hantaviruses are transmitted primarily by inhalation of aerosols loaded with viral particles from the feces, urine and saliva of infected rodents. Other possible routes of transmission are: contact with excrements or secretions of mice infected with conjunctival, nasal or buccal mucosa,
or bite of the infected rodent. Transmission to humans generally occurs when one enters the rodent habitat
in suburban areas and rural environments, especially in the peridomestic and during the development of work, recreational activities or indoors, such as sheds or deposits infested by rodents.
Symptoms occur two to four weeks after the initial exposure to the virus. However, symptoms can begin within a week or even 6 weeks after exposure, and the lethality rate can reach 35-50%.
Cases under analysis
Samples of Misiones patients were sent to the Malbrán Institute in Buenos Aires. Although the clinical possibility of a positive test for the hanta virus is low, the protocol was followed.