Ebola-like virus, Chapare, emerges in Bolivia

Credit: Siasat
Credit: Siasat
[A new] disease, caused by the Chapare virus, killed three people and is thought to have sickened at least five during [an] outbreak [in Bolivia last year], including three healthcare workers who came into contact with patients. Its symptoms include internal bleeding, fever, and widespread organ damage.

This collection of symptoms is known as hemorrhagic fever and is a familiar, often fatal outcome of other very dangerous but usually rare viral diseases like Ebola.

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Most arenaviruses that make people sick are known to spread from rodents to people. Usually, this happens when people breathe in aerosols from dried-out rodent urine or droppings contaminated with the virus or otherwise come into direct contact with rodents… But at least three health care workers who interacted with infected patients—a medical resident, an ambulance worker, and a gastroenterologist—also developed illness, with two eventually dying. Health officials strongly believe the virus was spread from person to person in these other cases.

Related article:  Cancer and heart disease contagious? It's possible, through the microbiome, researchers argue

For now, scientists plan to learn as much as they can about the Chapare virus from these latest cases, including its likely rodent hosts, where it may have originated, and whether it’s been circulating in the country unbeknownst to doctors.

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