Emerging ebola-like virus in Bolivia spreads between humans? (information evaluation)

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EXCERPTS: Scientists are urging caution over a mysterious, Ebola-like viral disease that appears to have spread from person to person during a small outbreak in Bolivia last year. The disease, caused by the Chapare virus, killed three people and is thought to have sickened at least five during the outbreak, including three healthcare workers who came into contact with patients. Its symptoms include internal bleeding, fever, and widespread organ damage.

The virus is named after the location where the first known outbreak of the disease occurred in late 2003, near the Chapare River in Bolivia. Though several people were suspected of having the disease in 2003 and 2004, detailed information and blood samples were only collected from a single patient at the time: a 22-year-old tailor and farmer living in the rural village of Samuzabeti.

[...] In 2019, the Chapare virus made a reappearance in Bolivia, first being found in a farm worker who developed hemorrhagic fever and ultimately died as a result. ... Health officials strongly believe the virus was spread from person to person in these other cases. ... “We now believe many bodily fluids can potentially carry the virus,” said Caitlin Cossaboom, an epidemiologist...

Given the ongoing pandemic and how it began, it’s understandable to be worried by this news. But while that’s not totally unwarranted, it should be noted that most human outbreaks of arenaviruses tend to be limited, as this one was. And their main route of transmission is still predominantly from rodents to people. Even if this virus can spread from person to person, it appears to be through direct contact with bodily fluids like blood or saliva, which limits its potential for spread, as does its lethality... (MORE - details)

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