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High number of Hantavirus infections in Chile

Several people were killed and many other infected by Hantavirus in Biobio and Araucania regions, in west-central and southern Chile at the beginning of year 2017, with the Ministry of Health reiterating its call to prevent Hantavirus contagion. In the year 2017, until February 7, 18 cases of Hantavirus, of which five have had a fatal outcome, have been confirmed in the country. The above means that this period the disease has a mortality of 27.8%. During 2016, a total of 51 cases were registered, with a mortality rate of 21.6%, while in 2015 there were 58 cases with a fatality rate of 43.1% (source: El Ministerio de Salud Chile, February 9, 2017).

Hantaviruses are transmitted to humans when they are exposed to rodent secretions. The deadly Andesvirus is carried in the field mouse or “colilargo” (Oligoryzomis Longicaudatos). The recent severe forest fires in Chile might have led to spreading of the carrier animals to places they usually are not going thus spreading this contagious disease.

Hantavirus infections may lead to life threatening pulmonary and/or renal diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) and its milder form Nephropatia Epidemica (NE).

The serotypes found in South America have a very high mortality rate. Early recognition is therefore essential to promptly give intensive care to the patient.

REAGENA POC immunoassay has been proved to detect also this dangerous Hantavirus serotype (Rapid immunochromatographic test for Hantavirus Andes..., Navarrete et al.- Journal of Medical Virology, 2007). For further reading (in Spanish) http://epi.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/guia_hantavirus.pdf