At a meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Health (ASTMH) on November 16, local time, researchers suggested that the deadly virus, Chapare virus, found in Bolivia, had spread from person to person in medical facilities. It is a class of sandviruses that also contains Lassa virus, which causes Lassa fever that kills thousands of people each year in West Africa.
Chapare virus infection can cause haemorrhagic fever, symptoms similar to Ebola, and there is current evidence that it can be transmitted through body fluids.
The earliest recorded case of Chapare virus infection was in 2004, when a confirmed case occurred in the province of Chapare, Bolivia. Then, in 2019, the virus caused at least five infections in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, and two patients transmitted the virus to three health care workers, killing a total of three people. Researchers believe the Chapare virus may have been spreading in Bolivia for several years, but was wrongly diagnosed with dengue fever because people infected with Chapare virus have fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and other symptoms, similar to dengue fever, which is common in the region. The study also detected the virus in local rodents, which can transmit the virus to humans or other animals that can infect humans. (ASTMH, theGuardian)