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Chapare Virus: Human-To-Human Transmission Of Deadly Ebola-like Virus Confirmed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Monday that Chapare virus a deadly virus, which causes haemorrhagic fever like Ebola, can be transmitted through people [1].

What Is Chapare Virus/ Chapare Haemorrhagic Fever (CHHF)?

Chapare mammarenavirus is a member of the virus family Arenaviridae and causes haemorrhagic fever - called the Chapare haemorrhagic fever [2]. Arenaviruses are usually spread to people through direct contact with infected rodents or through indirect contact such as through the urine or faeces (droppings) of an infected rodent [3].

How Is The Virus Transmitted?

There have been two documented outbreaks of Chapare haemorrhagic fever to date. The first case was discovered in 2004 in the Bolivian province of Chapare and was reported again in 2019, where it caused the death of three people [4].

According to CDC, the arenaviruses are typically transmitted either through direct or indirect contact with the saliva, urine, and droppings of infected rodents - such as bites and scratches by infected rodents, breathing in the virus, ingestion of food contaminated with the urine, saliva, or droppings of infected rodents [5].

An infected person can spread the illness to other people through contact (patient's body fluids, aerosols in healthcare settings etc.).

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Chapare Haemorrhagic Fever?

Due to the extremely low number of CHHF cases, there is a lack of information about the specific signs and symptoms of viral fever. Studies say that the symptoms of CHHF resemble those of other South American haemorrhagic fevers, such as Argentine haemorrhagic fever (AHF) or Bolivian haemorrhagic fever (BHF) [6].

As per records, these are the reported symptoms associated with CHHF:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Stomach pain
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding gums
  • Rashes

How Is Chapare Haemorrhagic Fever Treated?

Currently, there is no treatment for CHHF. Supportive therapy is important for recovery from and survival of CHHF - such as maintenance of hydration, management of shock, sedation

pain relief and transfusions (when necessary).

Can You Recover From Chapare Haemorrhagic Fever?

Due to the rare nature of the viral disease (only two outbreaks), there is no clarity on the mortality and risk factors for mortality. In the first known outbreak, the only confirmed case was fatal. In the second outbreak in 2019, three out of five documented cases were fatal, projecting a fatality rate of 60 per cent [7].

In the case of arenavirus infections, patients who recover may continue to shed virus in blood, saliva, urine, or semen for months after they no longer have symptoms. However, little is aware of CHHF.

How To Prevent Chapare Haemorrhagic Fever?

  • Improving rodent control in and around homes and buildings can help to reduce exposure to rodents and reduce the risk of contracting the fever.
  • Sealing any gaps or holes in your home and surroundings.
  • Avoiding areas infested with rodents.
  • Infected people have the potential to infect others (particularly household members, healthcare workers, and potentially sexual partners) via bodily fluids, so avoid any contact [8].

On A Final Note...

Health experts say that even in case of an outbreak, Chapare virus was unlikely to cause a pandemic on the scale of Covid-19. However, it does not state that there is no cause for concern whatsoever.

Story first published: Thursday, November 19, 2020, 0:11 [IST]