Argentina suspects that the hantavirus outbreak is a mutation


The Minister of Health of Argentina, Adolfo Rubinstein, said on Monday that the government suspected that the outbreak of hantavirus arose in a city in the province of Chubut, which has already caused ten deaths, is a "mutation", since it can be given the "inter-human contagion".

"Fundamentally, so far, the contagious pathway was sporadic cases by inhalation of rat secretions … The difference is that is inter-human contagion, is what is much more worrisome from the epidemiological point of view"said the head of Health in an interview in Radio Miter.

So far, the outbreak of hantavirus that originated in the city of Epuyén Chubut caused 28 positive cases of contagion and 10 deaths in the area bordering Chile

The last victim of the outbreak was a Chilean citizen who died Saturday in Santiago after visiting a person from Epuyén who died of this disease in December.

Rubinstein explained that the chain of infections began with a "gentleman with symptoms" who attended popular festivities in early November and infected those who divided the table, and thereafter the number of cases increased.

He commented that the patients of the virus go through a "very serious condition", since this outbreak is registering a "very high mortality, of more than 40%".

In addition to the safety and prevention measures being implemented in the locality and in the surroundings, the authorities are carrying out studies to determine specifically what the characteristics of the virus are and "if there is any kind of mutation that is promoting this new quite unusual way in the case of hanta of inter-human contagion ".

Hantavirus is originally transmitted by contact with the urine, saliva and excrement of rodents infected with the virus. For transmission between people, close contact with patients is required in the initial period of the febrile episode, ranging from the first 48 to 72 hours.

The route of spread is inhalation, so kisses and hugs can infect hantavirus as well as saliva particles when speaking. The symptoms of this virus are fever, muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and in advanced stages of respiratory distress.

Product of the outbreak, authorities have decided to suspend recreational activities in Epuyén, such as roast festival and other mass events in various locations

The chubut city of Epuyén ordered the health quarantine last Friday after detecting the virus and the scheduled recreational activities were suspended, like the barbecue, and other massive events in several places nearby.

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Chubut extends from Hualaihué to Balmaceda, on the Chilean side (Image: Clarin)


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