Tenth fatal hantavirus victim: a Chilean woman died and concerns about person-to-person transmission


On Saturday afternoon, a new death was confirmed as a result of hantavirus. She is a Chilean of 29 years who would have been infected by being in contact with a person from Epuyén, the city of Chubut, where the outbreak originated.

Despite all the efforts made, it was not possible to save his life due to the cardiovascular syndrome due to hantavirus. In this way, the number of deaths reaches 10.

As a result of this case, the incipient epidemic could be aggravated if it is confirmed that the virus infection is produced by interhuman contact and not exclusively by the action of the rodents, causing controlling the proliferation of the virus is even more difficult.

What is hantavirus?

It is a serious acute viral illness caused by the Hanta virus, which attacks the lungs of humans. Wild mice (known as long-tailed mice) transmit to people when they get rid of the virus through saliva, urine or feces. When dry, it is combined with dust and airborne. It is transmitted by the inhalation of contaminated air in open or closed places where rodents eliminate the virus.

The disease can also be spread by direct contact, touching infected rodents, living or dead, or their feces or urine. The least frequent form of transmission is the bite of mice.

What are the symptoms?

They may be confused with a flu state, with the presence of fever, muscle aches, chills, headache. These symptoms can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Later, there may be difficulty breathing with serious complications. In the presence of any of these symptoms, you should go to the doctor immediately.

How to prevent disease?

  • Avoid coexistence with rodents and contact their secretions.
  • Prevent rodents from entering or making nests in homes.
  • Cover holes in the doors, walls and pipes, maintain hygiene with water and sanitary water, put gardens and firewood more than 30 meters from houses, grass cutting and weeds up to a radius of 30 meters around the house.
  • Ventilate at least 30 minutes before entering enclosed spaces (houses, sheds). Cover your mouth and nose with a damp handkerchief before entering.
  • Run the cleaning (floors, tables, drawers and cabinets) with one part of bleach every ten of water (leave 30 minutes and then rinse). Moisten the floor before sweeping to avoid dust.
  • When camping do away with weeds and dumps. Do not fall asleep directly on the floor and drink drinking water.
  • If a live rodent is found: use poison for rodents or hunters to catch it (do not try to touch it or hit it).
  • If a dead rodent is found: sprinkle with bleach along with everything that may have come in contact and wait at least 30 minutes. Then take it with gloves and bury it more than 30 cm deep or burn it.


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