An outbreak of Hantavirus is currently occuring in four regions within Argentina:
Hantavirus is a virus which is found in the feces, urine and saliva of infected rodents such as rats. It's transmitted to humans via rodent bites, coming in contact with rodent feces, saliva or urine and breathing in particles from rodent urine. It can also be contracted via broken skin and contaminated food and water.
Contracting the virus causes the rare Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a severe lung infection which can be fatal if left untreated.
Early symptoms (first 2-3 weeks) of the virus are fever, chills, nausea, aches and pains, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.
As the infection worsens, symptoms such as shortness of breath, increased heartbeat, rapid breathing and coughing appear.
It's vital that if you do feel unwell while traveling that you seek medical treatment immediately to ensure you are treated promptly and for the correct condition given the symptoms of Hantavirus are similar to many other conditions.
To avoid potentially contracting this disease, it's important to take precautions while traveling such as observing good personal hygiene, checking that your accommodation is clean and hygienic, eating at places which look clean and have a high turnover, only using water which has been just treated/boiled, disposing of trash properly and keeping your food well sealed to avoid rodent contamination, particularly if you are camping and hiking.
Please check with authorities for more information, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities means you won't be covered by travel insurance.
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