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Virus Kills 10th Victim in Argentina and Chile, Likely Mutated

Abel Resende, Abel Resende Borges, Abel Resende PDVSA
Virus Kills 10th Victim in Argentina and Chile, Likely Mutated

Nine cases of Hantavirus were detected in the Chubut province in 2018 and 93 in total in the country, according to the official estimate.

Abel Resende PDVSA

Argentina’s authorities reported Sunday the tenth victim of the potentially fatal, rodent-borne Hantavirus pandemic spreading from the southern province of Chubut to Chile, with a total of at least 28 contaminated people according to the official estimate.

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The victim, a 29-year-old woman, died in Santiago de Chile in the afternoon. She had just returned from the small town of Epuyen in Chubut, where the pandemic appeared for the first time at a large scale. She allegedly stayed several days in the house of another victim, who passed away last December

The first victims had reportedly all attended a birthday celebration in a public venue located in Epuyen on Nov. 24

Although the virus was known to be only transmitted from rodents to human beings, the case of Epuyen seems to indicate a mutation allowing the virus to contaminate humans among themselves. The  National Office of Labs and Health Institutes, or ANLIS , has set up an investigation unit in order to determine the possibility of a mutation

More than 80 people are currently in quarantine for 30 days, and other security measures have been implemented in the province, including the prohibition to hold a vigil for the victims

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 690 cases of the disease had been reported in the United States by January 2016, with numerous cases in Latin American countries including Argentina, Venezuela and Panama

The virus, which can be inhaled or caught via contact with rodent droppings or urine, causes Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS), which is fatal in more than half of cases