Context: A rare Ebola-like illness can spread through human-to-human transmission, researchers have discovered.
The Chapare virus
- The Chapare hemorrhagic fever (CHHF) is caused by the same arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD).
- An arenavirus is a bisegmented ambisense RNA virus that is a member of the family Arenaviridae.
- These viruses infect rodents and occasionally humans.
- The biggest outbreak of the ‘Chapare virus’ was reported in 2019, in the Bolivian capital of La Paz. The virus is named Chapare after the province in which it was first observed.
- Transmission: Arenaviruses are generally carried by rats and can be transmitted through direct contact with the infected rodent, its droppings, or through contact with an infected person.
- Symptoms: It causes a hemorrhagic fever much like Ebola along with abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, skin rash and pain behind the eyes.
- It is a severe kind of illness that can affect multiple organs and damage the walls of blood vessels.
- Since there are no specific drugs to treat the disease, patients generally receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids.
- The Chapare virus is much more difficult to catch than the coronavirus as it is not transmissible via the respiratory route.
- The disease is also known to be most commonly transmitted particularly in certain parts of South America where the small-eared pygmy rice rat is commonly found.
- Healthcare workers are at higher risk of contracting the illness.
- The disease could also be sexually transmitted.
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