At least 81 cases of Hantavirus, including 23 deaths, were confirmed in Chile this year as of November 15. The outbreak has mostly affected the Bio Bío and Los Ríos regions. Case rates could continue to rise in the coming months, as the risk of contracting the disease in Chile is highest during the summer, i.e. from November to March/April.
Hantavirus is spread via the urine, saliva, and feces of infected rodents 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, and fatigue. Other possible symptoms include headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Hantavirus is fatal in roughly one third of cases.
Those present in Chile should avoid exposure to potentially rodent-infested areas. Individuals exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical treatment.