The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that a deadly virus can now also be transmitted human-to-human. The virus, called Chapare, causes haemorrhagic fever (CHHF) like Ebola. This comes at a time when healthcare workers and scientists are already battling the novel coronavirus pandemic.
One small outbreak of the virus had previously been documented in 2004. This was in the Chapare region, located east of La Paz in Bolivia. It can cause hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola. The biggest outbreak of the ‘Chapare virus’ was reported in 2019, when three healthcare workers contracted the illness from two patients in the Bolivian capital of La Paz. Two of the medical professionals and one patient later died. Prior to that, a single confirmed case of the disease and a small cluster was documented in the Chapare region over a decade ago.
Cossaboom said the patients suffered fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, skin rash and pain behind the eyes. There are no specific drugs for the disease, which means patients can only be provided supportive care such as intravenous fluids.
Scientists have pointed out that the Chapare virus is much more difficult to catch than the coronavirus as it is not transmissible via the respiratory route. Instead, Chapare spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids.
The people who are particularly at risk of contracting the illness are healthcare workers and family members who come in close contact with infected people. The disease is also known to be most commonly transmitted in more tropical regions, particularly in certain parts of South America where the small-eared pigmy rice rat is commonly found.