As the world is still trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that another virus called Chapare Virus, which can be transmitted human-to-human, may emerge as a pandemic, if not addressed immediately.
Chapare virus causes haemorrhagic fever (CHHF) like Ebola. Experts have said that it is not likely to become a pandemic. But here are reasons to be alarmed about the virus including the fact that there is no treatment for CHHF yet.
What is the Chapare virus?
The CDC stated that Chapare virus comes from the arenavirus family. This virus infects human beings when they come in direct contact with the rodents that are infected by the Chapare virus. It can also spread when humans come in contact with the urine or faeces of infected rodents. However, so far it is not proved that rodents are the source of the virus.
Once infected, a human being can spread the disease through body fluids including saliva, urine, semen and respiratory secretions. There is not much information available on how the virus spreads and the CDC also stated that more research is needed to ascertain the cause, symptoms and treatment for CHHF.
So far only a few cases have been identified with CHHF including two documented outbreaks. First time the virus was identified in human beings in 2003 at Chapare province in Bolivia. It had led to one death. The second outbreak was reported in 2019 at Caranavi province in Bolivia. It took three lives – one patient and two health workers, who were infected by the virus.
Following these two outbreaks, health officials have identified some symptoms for CHHF. It is said that degree of symptoms varies between 4 and 21 from the date of infection.
Common symptoms of CHHF are: fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, pain behind the eyes, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding gums, rash and irritability. However, reports have not clarified if the virus is transmitted from mother to unborn child.
With no treatment available, maintenance of hydration, management of shock including fluid resuscitation, administration of vasopressin stocks, sedation, pain relief and transfusions are considered for therapy.
Currently, CDC has developed an RT-PCR test to diagnose the virus. Guardian reported that the virus can be present in the semen of a survivor for 24 weeks or 168 days after getting infected.