A 30-year-old woman from the city of Chubut Epuyen died in Esquel’s hospital and became the fifth deadly victim of Hantavirus. since mid-December, when a medical warning was announced about an outbreak in this region of the country.
For the same disease, there are two people in intensive care and three others in the intermediate therapy room. in the health center of Esquel, a city located in the Andes mountain range. There are already 13 cases in the whole of Chubut.
But this virus exists almost throughout the country. In Argentina, three endemic regions were identified: North (Salta, Jujuy), Center (Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Rios) and Sur (Neuquen, Rio Negro and Chubut).
According to the Minister of Health of the Nation, in 2013-2018 there were 192 cases of disease in the province of Buenos Aires; 191 in Salta; 97 in Jujuy and 41 in Santa Fe. These provinces are ranked by the number of confirmed cases of virus infection. There were 1,440 cases across the country.
In their portfolio, they explained to this newspaper that hantavirus is a serious acute viral disease caused by the Hanta virus., Wild mice (mostly long-tailed) transmit it to humans, destroying the virus in saliva, feces and urine.
Symptoms resemble a flu condition: fever, muscle aches, chills, headaches (headaches), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
After a few days, a respiratory disorder can occur, which can be aggravated by causing a so-called "Cardiopulmonary syndrome due to hantavirus"that can lead to death if a person is not hospitalized on time.
Laura Barkan, head of the department of infectious medicine at the Italian hospital, explained Los Andes that the mortality rate is "high" because there is no specific treatment, there is no punctual means, and no matter how fast a person acts, "this is a very difficult picture."
In Argentina, the first cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) were reported in 1995. and since then, it is the country in South America with the highest number of reported cases, according to official data.
Emilio Alvar, 37-year-old artist who had the disease in November 2017 in the city of Merlot in Buenos Aires, told this newspaper that he was in a pharmacological coma for 35 days. And, having left the hospital, more than a year ago, he still could not fully recover.
His muscles atrophied in the hospital, and he had to rehabilitate. Although he has physically recovered today, he suffers from dizziness and panic attacks, which prevent him from returning to work.
Infectologist Barkan He said that if a person is going to enter places that have long been closed, it is advisable to leave him open for half an hour, and then enter the nose and mouth with a damp cloth to avoid inhaling the secret.
In this lineexplained that in case there is a sick person in the family, you must use barrier measures such as chin straps.
Regarding the affected areas and the possibility of the spread of the virus through different parts of the country, Barkan said that this is very connected with the destruction of the natural habitat of rodents. For example, in areas with large deforestation, rats are approaching urban areas.
Health authorities Chubut They strengthened prevention tasks and extended vigilance for 90 days until next March. And they work together with the Health Emergency Committee, which includes technical specialists and authorities from the national and provincial health department.
Besides, specialists from the Institute Malbran went to the area collaborate with doctors Esquel, Epuén and other rural hospitals in the Andean region, through an interdisciplinary desktop.
There, it was decided to continue the tasks of investigating, evaluating and redefining the actions initiated on December 3, prior to the emergence of the epidemiological situation due to the outbreak of this infection transmitted by rodents.
After assessing the state of the situation, Experts have identified areas of activity related to epidemiological, psychosocial and communication aspects. continue to work with the community, including health teams and various institutions in the region.
On the other hand, Esquel Program Area Director, Jorge Elias, He admitted that “the situation within a few days is extremely difficult, especially in Epueen,” in the northwestern part of Chubut, from where people infected with Hantavirus originated.