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What is the Chapare virus?

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the Chapare virus?


Context:

scientists have now discovered another deadly virus, known as the Chapare virus, in Bolivia.

What is it?

The Chapare hemorrhagic fever (CHHF) is caused by the same arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD).

  • The virus is named Chapare after the province (in Bolivia) in which it was first observed.

Symptoms:

It causes a hemorrhagic fever much like Ebola along with abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, skin rash and pain behind the eyes. Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a severe and life-threatening kind of illness that can affect multiple organs and damage the walls of blood vessels.

Spread:

Arenaviruses like the Chapare virus are generally carried by rats and can be transmitted through direct contact with the infected rodent, its urine and droppings, or through contact with an infected person.

How is the Chapare hemorrhagic fever treated?

Since there are no specific drugs to treat the disease, patients generally receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids.

  • It includes maintenance of hydration, management of shock through fluid resuscitation, sedation, pain relief and transfusions.

What is the threat posed by the Chapare virus?

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.

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Prelims and Mains Link:

  • The virus, spread, treatments and threats.

Sources: Indian Express.