Health officials announced that at least 34 confirmed cases of Hantavirus, including 11 confirmed fatalities, have been reported throughout southern Argentina between early December 2018, and early February 2019. Two cases were reported on Friday, February 8, in the town of El Maitén. The area most affected by the outbreak remains Epuyén (Chubut province) and its surroundings. Authorities have advised residents to take precautions against rodents.
Hantavirus is spread via the urine, saliva, and feces of infected rodents (notably long-tailed mice in this case) and is contracted via contact with contaminated surfaces or via inhalation of contaminated air. The most common symptoms of the virus are similar to those of influenza: fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. Other possible symptoms include dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Hantavirus is fatal in roughly one-third of cases.
Those present in Chubut and Río Negro provinces should avoid exposure to areas where rodents may be present (e.g. barns or garbage dumps). Individuals exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms are advised to seek medical treatment immediately. Make sure to mention to medical professional whether or not you have had exposure to rodent-infested areas. There is no cure for Hantavirus; however, the sooner an infected person receives medical attention, the better.
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