Date: Sun 14 Oct 2018
Source: El Periodico [in Spanish, trans., edited]
The Tarija Departmental Health Services (SEDES) reported the latest case of [a] hantavirus [infection] in Bermejo city, making a total of 9 confirmed cases so far in the 2018 term. Hantavirus [causes] an acute viral disease that is transmitted to humans via rats from their saliva, faeces and urine.
The responsible departmental head of the Chagas Program of SEDES, Eduardo Rueda, stated that to date in , there are 28 suspected cases of hantavirus [infection] in Tarija, of which 9 were confirmed. "To date so far this year  we have 28 suspected cases of which corresponding tests were done and of which 9 were confirmed, and those are being treated by specialists," he said.
According to the information from SEDES, the Bemejo municipality registered 5 cases, followed by Yacuiba with 2 cases, Carapari with one and Padcaya with one. In addition, "according the epidemiological report, the last case was registered in Bermejo and those responsible for the program presented the suspected or confirmed cases, carrying out the prevention and control tasks for this disease," he added.
For the past 2 decades, the Bermejo and Padcaya municipalities have not stopped reporting this disease. For this reason, Tarija is one of the departments that received 100 kg [220 lb] of rodenticides (rat poison) from the Ministry of Health, and other amounts have been distributed in La Paz, Santa Cruz, Beni and Cochabamba [departments]. "The goal is to eliminate the rodents and prevent diseases such as bubonic plague, hantaviruses, hemorrhagic fever and leptospirosis," he mentioned.
The person responsible for the National Program for Diseases Transmitted by Rodents and Influenza of the Ministry of Health, Yandira Alcon, stated that a [risk] forecast was made on 21 Feb  with the provision of rodenticides at a cost of 135,000 bolivianos [USD 19,500] to control rodent population densities. "From February  until now, the chemical was given to 5 departmental health services that they [in turn] later gave to the endemic municipalities," he pointed out.
The [health] professionals recommended to families that they take preventive measures such as eliminating vegetation around their houses, disinfecting the environment, not living with farm animals and notifying health personnel of the presence of rodents.
Hantavirus [infections cause] an acute, serious viral disease transmitted through the saliva, feces and urine of the [infected] rodents. [Byline: Saul Cardozo]
[Cases of hantavirus infection have occurred in Tarija department in recent years, including the current one . The previously reported cases in 2015 of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) that occurred in Tarija department were confirmed. The above advice to the public in the endemic municipalities is prudent. Control and significant reduction of rodent populations, especially in rural areas, is difficult, and unless the recommended measures are applied continuously, likely to be of short-term effect. As noted in previous comments, earlier cases of HPS have been reported from tropical lowland areas of Bolivia. The specific hantaviruses involved in these or previous cases in 2013 and 2014 in Bolivia are not given.
In the lowland Amazon Basin of Bolivia, the possible hantavirus and its rodent hosts that might be involved in these HPS cases, include the following:
- Laguna Negra virus (_Calomys laucha_, _Calomys callosus_ and
- Rio Mamore (_C. callosus_ and _C. laucha_)
- Rio Mearim (_Holochilus sciureus_)
- Bermejo (_Oligoryzomys chacoensis_)
- Neembucu (_O. chacoensis_)
- Oran (_Oligoryzomys longicaudatus_ ).
Clearly, there are a variety of hantaviruses in Bolivia that can cause HPS involving several rodent hosts and found in many different ecological settings.
Dr. Jan Clement earlier pointed out the need to be able to differentiate Seoul hantavirus, with its wide distribution around the world, from hantaviruses found in the Americas. - ProMED Mod.TY]