A 31-yeaar old farm hand died and a 12-year old adolescent has been hospitalized in the province of Santa Fe following an outbreak of Argentine hemorrhagic fever (FHA) caused by the viral agent Junin and transmitted by camp mice.
The contagion potential of the disease covers a wide area of central Argentina: the provinces of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, La Pampa and Santa Fe, with other strains of the disease in Paraguay and Bolivia.
The death and hospitalization were confirmed by the Epidemiology Director from the city of Rosario.
The Junin virus is found in some species of camp mice that contaminate with their saliva, urine and excrement, and tend to proliferate in crop time. When harvesters chop up the four to six centimetres long brownish rodents, their blood is also potentially contaminating.
Human infection to occur through: skin contact (with abrasions, for example); in mucous or inhalation of particles carrying the virus. It is found mainly in people who reside in, or visit, or work in rural areas, 80% of those infected are men between 15 and 60.
The FHA is a serious acute illness like a common starting flu sends progressing to death in 1-2 weeks or recovery if treated early with blood plasma of ex-patients.
The virus incubation period is between 10-12 days after the first symptoms appear which confuses the unprepared practitioner in the differential diagnosis (biochemical analysis of platelets): fever, headache, weakness, reluctance, joint and eye pain and loss of appetite.
Unlike common flu where the patient improves to fifth day, with FHA symptoms intensify less than a week later forcing the infected patient to bed, producing increasingly strong symptoms of altered vascular, renal, haematological and neurological. This stage does not last more than 20 days If not treated anti-virally, FHA mortality reaches 30%.