IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Chapare virus: What is this rare Ebola-like virus that can spread from human to human?

19th November, 2020 Health

What is the Chapare virus?

  • A rare Ebola-like illness that is believed to have first originated in rural Bolivia in 2004 can spread through human-to-human transmission.
  • The biggest outbreak of the ‘Chapare virus’ was reported in 2019, when three healthcare workers contracted the illness from two patients in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
  • The Chapare hemorrhagic fever (CHHF) is caused by the same arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD).
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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.