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Argentine Hemorrhagic Fever

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Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF) is a rodent-borne illness caused by the arenavirus Junin that is endemic to the humid pampas of Argentina. AHF has had significant morbidity since its emergence in the 1950s, with a case-fatality rate of the illness without treatment between 15% and 30%. The use of a live attenuated vaccine has markedly reduced the incidence of AHF. Present specific therapy involves the transfusion of immune plasma in defined doses of neutralizing antibodies during the prodromal phase of illness. However, alternative forms of treatment are called for due to current difficulties in early detection of AHF, related to its decrease in incidence, troubles in maintaining adequate stocks of immune plasma, and the absence of effective therapies for severely ill patients that progress to a neurologic-hemorrhagic phase. Ribavirin might be a substitute for immune plasma, provided that the supply is guaranteed. Immune immunoglobulin or monoclonal antibodies should also be considered. New therapeutic options such as those being developed for systemic inflammatory syndromes should also be valuated in severe forms of AHF.

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