Hantavirus – Argentina

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A case of hantavirus was confirmed in Bariloche (Patagonia, Argentina). The affected individual is a 22-year-old male who is hospitalized in an intensive care unit and remains in stable condition.

Local health authorities carried out an epidemiological investigation to determine the place where the infection was contracted. A place near Lago Gutierrez, a camp in Camallo, and another area of Lago Mascardi are possible sites of infection. The family of the young man remains in isolation for 45 days to avoid transmission of the disease to other people.

Exposure to Hantaviruses can cause a rare but often fatal disease called Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which can progress rapidly into serious complications.

Humans are most often exposed by breathing in air particles contaminated by deer mouse saliva, urine, or feces containing infectious Hantaviruses.

Caution must be used when opening cabins, sheds or garages after a period of time. Floor surfaces may be contaminated and are best disinfected with a 10% bleach solution to avoid raising contaminated dust.

Photo: Rat – rodents are a natural reservoir of Hantavirus.

The natural reservoir of Hantavirus is rodents, although infected with the virus it does not cause disease in them. Humans may become infected with Hantaviruses through contact with rodent urine, saliva, or feces. Some strains cause potentially fatal diseases in humans, such as Hantavirus hemorrhagic fever or Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Human infections of Hantaviruses have almost entirely been linked to human contact with rodent excrement; however, in 2005 and 2019, human-to-human transmission of the Andes virus was reported in South America. Hantavirus infections have been reported from all continents except Australia.

Hantavirus is named for the Hantan River area in South Korea where an early outbreak was observed.

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