Several people were killed and many other infected by Hantavirus in Los Lagos and Araucania regions, in southern Chile at the end of year 2013 and first two months of the year 2014. Altogether 37 Hantavirus cases and sixteen (16) deaths due to Hantavirus have been reported in Chile since 1st of November 2013 until the end of February 2014 (source: Unidad de Vigilancia, Dpto. de Epidemiología, Semana Epidemiológica Nº 10. 07.03.2014)
A health alert was issued by Chilean authorities in February 2012 when 31 Hantavirus cases and 8 deaths were met during the same time period.
Hantaviruses are transmitted to humans when they are exposed to rodent secretions. Hantavirus infections may lead to life threatening pulmonary and/or renal diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) and its milder form Nephropatia Epidemica (NE).
The serotypes found in South America have a very high mortality rate, even close to 50%. Early recognition is therefore essential to promptly give intensive care to the patient.
REAGENA POC immunoassay has been proved to detect also this dangerous serotype (Rapid immunochromatographic test for Hantavirus Andes..., Navarrete et al.- Journal of Medical Virology, 2007).