Scientists have discovered another deadly virus in Bolivia that can spread from one human to another.
According to researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two patients transmitted the virus to three healthcare workers in Bolivia's de facto capital, La Paz, last year. After contracting the virus, one of the patients and two medical workers died. The scientists are of the view that the rare virus causes hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola.
The Chapare virus, named after the region where it was first observed, was discovered due to the ongoing efforts of scientists around the globe to avert future pandemics like COVID-19. It causes a hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.
The virus is believed to be carried by rats, who in turn may have passed it on to humans. Caitlin Cossaboom, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said patients suffered fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, skin rash, and pain behind the eyes after contracting the rare virus.
In Bolivia, a small outbreak of the virus was documented in the Chapare region 370 miles east of La Paz in 2004.
Maria Morales-Betoulle, a pathologist at the CDC, claimed that the new and rare virus in Bolivia is similar to the Chapare virus. However, little is known about this virus apart from the fact that it causes Ebola or Dengue fever-like symptoms with links to rodents and their droppings.
Researchers also said it was possible the virus had circulated for some years undetected because it could easily be misdiagnosed as dengue. Scientists said they needed to continue to study the virus to understand its capacity to cause outbreaks.
Scientists identified the new virus because of close international cooperation between American health authorities, Bolivian health authorities, and scientists with the Pan American Health Organisation branch of the World Health Organisation.Also read: COVID-19 vaccine: Sinovac's CoronaVac triggers quick immune response in early trials