A health alert has been issued for the municipality of La Asunta (La Paz department) due to an outbreak of Hantavirus. At least ten cases have been confirmed as of October 10, including one fatality. The patients are believed to have contracted the disease via the consumption of contaminated water.
Hantavirus is spread via the urine, saliva, and feces of infected rodents and is contracted via ingestion, contact with contaminated surfaces, or inhalation of contaminated air. The most common symptoms of the virus are similar to those of influenza: fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Other possible symptoms include headache, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Hantavirus is fatal in roughly one-third of cases.
Those present in La Asunta and surrounding areas should avoid exposure to potentially rodent-infested areas (e.g. barns, camp sites, construction sites, garbage dumps); drink only bottled water; make sure any outdoor garbage cans are properly covered and the area kept clean; regularly air out any structures that may have rodent infestations (barns, garages, etc.); and properly store foodstuffs. Individuals exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical treatment.
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