Dengue fever deaths in Barinas, Venezuela may actually be due to Venezuelan Haemorrhagic Fever

The deaths of 60 people in Barinas, supposedly due to dengue, may actually be due to infections with the Guanarito virus that causes Venezuelan Haemorrhagic Fever. This virus is found in the state of Portuguesa, in the municipalities of Guanarito, Papelón and San Genaro and in the state of Barinas, east of the municipalities of Sosa and Guárico.

Advice For Travellers

Guanarito virus infection results in an illness called Venezuelan Haemorrhagic Fever. The virus is transmitted usually by inhalation of aerosolized droplets of saliva, respiratory secretions, urine, or blood from infected cane mice. Humans come in contact with the habitat of these mice through agricultural practices. Infected people may become seriously ill with a fever, hemorrhages and convulsions. There may be multiple organ involvement.

There have only been a few outbreaks of this disease since the virus was first discovered in 1989. In general, the risk for travellers is very low. There is no vaccine or treatment. Travellers in the affected area should avoid contact with mice and mice droppings. Travellers should also practice careful personal hygiene with frequent hand washing.

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