News Excerpt
At a time when countries across the globe are struggling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that a deadly virus, which causes haemorrhagic fever like Ebola, can now also be transmitted through people.

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Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a national public health institute in the United States.
    Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability in the US and internationally.
    The CDC focuses national attention on developing and applying disease control and prevention.
•    The Chapare virus was first discovered in 2004 in the Bolivian province of Chapare, from where it gets its name. Though it disappeared in 2004, an outbreak last year infected at least five people.
•    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.
•    Two of the medical professionals and one patient later died. Prior to that, a single confirmed case of the disease and a small cluster were documented in the Chapare region over a decade ago.
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What is the Chapare virus?
    The Chaparehaemorrhagic fever (CHHF) is caused by the same arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD), which is 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.
    The virus, which is named Chapare after the province in which it was first observed, causes a haemorrhagic fever much like Ebola along with abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, skin rash and pain behind the eyes.

CDC researchers’ recent findings about the virus
    The virus can spread from person to person, particularly in healthcare settings.
    Healthcare workers are at higher risk of contracting the illness and must thus be extremely cautious while dealing with patients to avoid contact with items that could be contaminated with their blood, urine, saliva or semen. The disease can also be sexually transmitted.
    Researchers also discovered signs of the virus in rodents in the “home and nearby farmlands” surrounding the first person infected during the 2019 outbreak.

Threats posed by the Chapare virus
    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.

Treatment for the Chaparehaemorrhagic fever
     Since there are no specific drugs to treat the disease, patients generally receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids.
     The CDC website lists maintenance of hydration, management of shock through fluid resuscitation, sedation, pain relief and transfusions as the supportive therapy that can be administered on patients suffering from CHHF.