Hantavirus – Chile
A 51-year-old woman contracted the Hanta virus in an isolated town in Los Lagos, Chile.
The patient is hospitalized in an "extremely serious" condition, receiving intensive treatment and connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
A team from the Zoonosis Unit of the Los Lagos Seremi travelled to the place where the affected woman is from to investigate the case.
Photo: Rat – rodents are a natural reservoir of Hantavirus.
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.
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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