The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Andes Virus (Hantavirus) in Argentina

Key Points

  • There is an outbreak of Andes virus in Argentina, specifically in Chubut Province of Patagonia.
  • Travelers to Argentina should avoid contact with rodents and their droppings (urine and feces), and avoid close contact with anyone who may be sick.

What is Andes virus?

Andes virus is a species of hantavirus found in some rodents in South America. Humans can be infected with the Andes virus through contact with infected rodents or their droppings. Unlike other hantaviruses, Andes virus can also be spread through close contact with a person who is sick with Andes virus. Early symptoms can look similar to the flu and may include headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea. Like other hantaviruses, Andes virus infection can lead to a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome(HPS). Symptoms of HPS include coughing, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs.

What is the current situation?

There is an ongoing outbreak of Andes virus in the Chubut Province of Argentina that began in late 2018. Most cases have been reported in Epuyén, which is in Patagonia in southern Argentina.

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

Travelers to Argentina should avoid areas that are infested with rodents or where they see signs of rodents (such as droppings or nests). Travelers should also keep their accommodations and campsites clean and disinfect areas that have signs of rodents if possible. Because Andes virus can also spread between people, travelers should wash hands often and avoid close contact (such as kissing, having sex, or spending a long time together in a close physical space) with anyone who may be sick.

Travelers who develop symptoms during or after their trip should see a doctor right away. They should tell the doctor where they traveled in Argentina and whether they had contact with a rodent or sick person. Patients who are diagnosed early and get care may not experience as severe symptoms. 

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