Waiting for 2nd wave of Covid-19, Chapare virus is warming up

The mysterious Chapare virus, close to Ebola, worries scientists. While the world remains focused on the Covid-19 epidemic in the context of a second wave, it seems that another virus is creeping into our lives: the Chapare virus, known as Chapare hemorrhagic fever.

Researchers have discovered that a deadly virus identified in Bolivia could spread between humans, raising serious concerns about possible epidemics, according to findings presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) annual meeting.

The Chapare virus, known as Chapare hemorrhagic fever (CHHF), was first identified in 2004 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. No cases had been identified since then, but in June 2019, it reappeared near the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

Several patients were treated at a hospital in the city for hemorrhagic fever, and one of them died. Five medical staff in contact with them were, in turn, infected, and two died of the disease.

Symptoms included fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bleeding gums.

Symptoms similar to dengue

And even though this new virus is not causing any havoc, health authorities are deeply concerned since this is the first description of the Chapare virus’s human-to-human transmission. How could it spread?

“We now believe that many biological fluids have the potential to carry the virus,” including blood, saliva, and urine, said epidemiologist Caitlin Cossaboom, quoted by EurekAlert!

Sexual transmission cannot be ruled out either. Indeed, researchers detected viral RNA in a man’s semen 168 days after infection.

Scientists believe that the Chapare virus may have been circulating in Bolivia for several years, but infected patients may have been misdiagnosed as suffering from dengue fever, a common disease in the region with similar symptoms.

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