Rubinstein: "I would not recommend going to Epuyén and its surroundings at this time"



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Source: Archivo – Credit: Hernán Zenteno

While the epidemiological investigation of
Outbreak of hantavirus in Chubut to have more information to contain it, the Ministry of Health of the Nation did not rule out that in the next few hours confirm new cases.

"I would not recommend going to Epuyén and its surroundings at this time," he said in a conversation with
THE NATION the Secretary of Health of the Nation, Adolfo Rubinstein, who next Tuesday will visit the area where, for several weeks, national and provincial technical teams have worked together.

"So far, there is no case of those who have confirmed that there was no primary or secondary contact in the virus transmission chain of the same outbreak, including a new case of Bariloche that is confirmed," said the hospital official. cases, with nine fatalities, which have been officially confirmed so far. "Probably, the number of people affected increases in those 48 hours with the analyzes that are being done."

To alleviate the impact of the outbreak in the community of Epuyén, mental health experts will arrive in the coming hours to provide psychological support to the residents, the official said.

In addition, local experts assist in the professional field of residence in Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health of the Nation and those responsible for the Biological Containment Unit of the National Administration of Health Laboratories and Institutes (Anlis). ) Dr. Carlos Malbrán.

Strict and permanent surveillance

Miriam Burgos, undersecretary for the Prevention and Control of Communicable and Immunoprevisable Diseases, and Patrícia Angeleri, national director of Epidemiology and Health Situation Analysis, participated today in the situation room that concentrates data sent by doctors, infectologists, epidemiologists, zoonoses specialists , laboratory workers and health workers visiting people who are in isolation. Their analysis allows the study of the outbreak, the evaluation of the efficacy of the health response, and the determination of what measures should be taken to contain it according to its evolution.

"It's a strict and permanent surveillance policy, day after day, and we'll take the necessary recommendations," Rubinstein said. Meanwhile, he insisted that "serious and professional work is being done in the investigation of suspected cases and in the reconstruction of the virus transmission chain."

So far, the strain that has caused the outbreak is known to be in the southern Andes, and studies are being conducted in Anlis to determine if the virus isolated in people who have acquired the infection has some trait (mutations) that increase its lethality or transmissibility.

"Based on the epidemiological investigation of the cases and the available information, the experts support the hypothesis that in the current hantavirus outbreak in Epuyén there is a possibility of person-to-person transmission, a hypothesis that" Expect conclusive results from the analysis of the Operative Unit Anlis Biological Containment Center, "the National Health Department said in an interview this afternoon." At present, the lethality observed in this outbreak is expected for the southern Andes strain of hantavirus, which is between 30 and 50%. "

In the past six years, there have been 111 deaths in the country due to hantavirus, an infection that is transmitted through contact with saliva, feces and urine from wild mice carrying the hanta virus. Chubut, with its neighbors Neuquén and Río Negro, form one of the four regions of the country where hantavirus is endemic.

"The disease, for which there is no vaccine or specific treatment, can affect the function of the lungs and the heart due to an inadequate response of the immune system and as a consequence, in some cases, lead to death," recalled the Ministry of Health .

Therefore, they recommend venting for at least 30 minutes before entering places such as houses or sheds, which have been closed and cover your mouth and nose with a chin strap before entering; camping away from weeds and dumps, not sleeping directly on the ground and consuming drinking water; in case you encounter a rodent, if it is alive you have to use poison or traps to capture it (do not touch it or try to hit it) and if it is dead, you must spray it with bleach together with everything that could be in contact with the animal. wait 30 minutes or more, take the animal with gloves and bury it more than 30 cm deep or burn it.

People with symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea should quickly consult the nearest center and avoid contact with other people.

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