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Five killed in two weeks and a warning in the country

A 30-year-old woman from the city of Chubut in Epuyén died at the Esquel hospital and became the fifth victim of hantavirus. from mid-December, when a health alert was announced about the outbreak of the disease in this region of the country.

In the same disease there are two people in the intensive care unit and three others in the indirect therapy room in the health center of Esquel, a city located in the Andes mountain range. There are already 13 cases in all of Chubut.

But this virus occurs on almost the entire territory of the country. In Argentina, three endemic regions have been identified: northern (Salta, Jujuy), Centro (Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos) and Sur (Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut).

According to the Secretary of National Health, in 2013-2018, there were 192 cases in the province of Buenos Aires; 191 in Salta; 97 in Jujuy and 41 in Santa Fe. These provinces lead the ranking in the number of confirmed cases of infection with the virus. There were 1,440 cases in the whole country.

In their portfolio, they explained to the newspaper that hantavirus is a serious acute viral disease caused by the Hant virusWild mice (mainly those with long tails) transmit them to humans, eliminating the virus from saliva, faeces and urine.

Symptoms resemble the state of influenza: fever, muscle aches, chills, headaches (nausea), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

After a few days, a breathing disorder may occur, which may be exacerbated by the formation of so-called "Hantavirus-induced cardio-pulmonary syndrome", which can lead to death if the person is not hospitalized on time.

Laura Barcán, head of the Infectology section at the Italian hospital, explained to Los Andes that the mortality rate was "high" because there is no special treatment, there is no point medication and no matter how fast it works, "this is a very complicated picture".

In Argentina, the first cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) were recorded in 1995 and since then it has been the country in South America with the highest number of cases reported, according to official data.

Emilio Alvar, a 37-year-old painter who sustained illness in November 2017 in the city of Merlo in Buenos Aires, told the newspaper that he was in a coma for 35 days. And after leaving the hospital over a year ago, he still could not recover fully.

His muscles were atrophied in the hospital and he had to undergo rehabilitation. Although today he is physically healed, he suffers from dizziness and panic attacks that prevent him from returning to work.

Barcán infecologist He said that if someone comes to places that were closed a long time ago, it is advisable to leave him open for half an hour, and then enter with a damp cloth on his nose and mouth to avoid inhaling secretions.

In this linehe explained that if the family is ill, restrictive measures such as warts should be used.

With regard to the affected areas and the possibility of spreading the virus in different parts of the country, Barcan said that this is very related to the destruction of the environment in which rodents live. For example, in areas with high forest clearance, rats are approaching urban areas.

Health authorities Chubut They reinforced the prevention tasks and extended the warning by 90 days until next March. They also cooperate with the Health Supervision Committee, which includes technicians and the national and regional health care providers.

also experts from the Malbrán Institute traveled around the area to cooperate with doctors hospitals in Esquel, Epuyén and other rural hospitals in the Andean region, through a multidisciplinary work table.

There they agreed to continue the tasks related to the examination, assessment and re-definition of activities initiated on December 3 before the epidemiological accident due to the outbreak of this infection transmitted by rodents.

After assessing the status of the situation, specialists have defined directions of action related to epidemiological, psychosocial and communication aspects continue working with the community, including health teams and various institutions in the region.

On the other hand director of the Esquel program area, Jorge Elías, He admitted that "the situation for several days is extremely complex, especially in Epuyén", a town northwest of Chubut, where people infected with hantavirus come from.

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