There have been five positive cases of hantavirus infection in the Salta province in Argentina – in three females and two males, and one of which has resulted in death.
The Ministry of Public Health recommends that those living in rural areas keep their residences and untended areas clean to deter rodents, and that those camping in environments where the rural mouse frequents, such as cornfields, reed beds, forests and grasslands, should do so away from weeds or garbage dumps, should not sleep directly on the ground, and should consume safe water.
Hantavirus is a serious acute viral disease, transmitted by countryside mice, through their saliva, faeces and urine and for which there is no vaccine. “The most frequent cause of transmission is inhalation, when breathing in places where infected mice, through their secretions, have contaminated the environment with the hantavirus,” writes the ProMED International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Symptoms of hantavirus appear flu-like, including the presence of fever, muscle pain, chills, and headache, which can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea, and sometimes respiratory distress with serious complications.