Bunyaviridae has been gaining a little bit more press in the last few days, as one case of Hantavirus in a 55 year old female from the Herrera province was reported on December 10, 2014, while another completely independent case occurred in Argentina 10 days previous.
The local officials in Panama are on high alert in the area, as they are already investigating the area for an increased prevalence of rats and have started to place rodent traps. ProMed suspects that the viral infection is due to Choclo Virus, a new world Hanta Virus most similar to the Laguna Negra Virus. Interestingly, the Choclo Virus is responsible for a more mild version of Hanta Cardiopulmonary Syndrome throughout Western Panama, and is thought to even cause asymptomatic infection in some cases.
Comparatively, the case in Argentina was most likely caused by Andes Virus. Health officials believe that the Long Tailed Pygmy Rice Rat was responsible for the transmission of the Hanta Virus, and that the area that the patient contracted the virus from is experiencing increased populations of the rodent due to piles of trash in the area. Public health officials have started to clean the areas and look for more rats that may carry Andes Virus in the area. Better run for the hills Pygmy Rice Rat!
- Marcus Munoz