USP investigates resurgence of the thrush virus after 20 years | Health

USP investigates resurgence of the sabiá virus
FMUSP Communications Advisor

USP investigates resurgence of the sabiá virus

Scientists at the University of São Paulo released this Monday preliminary data from research on the Brazillian mammarenavirus, or thrush virus. The incidence of the virus was again recorded in Brazil after more than 20 years without any infected person. Highly lethal, the virus causes Brazilian hemorrhagic fever.

The most recent cases occurred in 2019 in rural São Paulo, when two men died within days of diagnosis. Both had symptoms such as fever, muscle and abdominal pain, dizziness and prostration.
According to preliminary data from the study, published on the USP website, one of the transmission hypotheses is the “inhalation of viral particles, perhaps from rodent feces”.

“We inferred, based on the other Mammarenavirus in South America, that the person is probably contaminated by inhaling viral particles, perhaps from rodent feces. But this is not proven precisely because we have very few cases described”, said doctor Ana Catharina Nastri, from the USP School of Medicine.

As the registered cases were in rural areas, with less laboratory and diagnostic resources, the doctor believes that some cases have not been registered. This precludes a complete overview of Brazilian hemorrhagic fever.

“We don’t know if there really aren’t any milder cases, like yellow fever, which ranges from the severe case to those who have no symptoms at all,” said Ana Nastri.


The first case of the sabiá virus was registered in Cotia, in the interior of São Paulo, in 1990. The second occurred nine years later, in Espírito Santo do Pinhal. The two most recent diagnoses were in Assis, in 2019, and in Eldorado, in 2020.

Eldorado’s patient was a 52-year-old man who had walked through the forest in the city of Eldorado and began to experience symptoms such as muscle pain, abdominal pain and dizziness. He was in the hospital but had to return four days later, when he was admitted. At that time, he also had a high fever and drowsiness.

During hospitalization, the patient’s clinical condition worsened until he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), ten days after the onset of symptoms. The man had significant bleeding, kidney failure, reduced level of consciousness and hypotension. He died two days later.

In Assisi, a 63-year-old rural worker presented with fever, generalized myalgia, nausea and prostration. He needed to be intubated eight days later, when his condition had worsened, with loss of consciousness and respiratory failure. He died 11 days after the first symptoms.

hospital transmission

The study also found that there were no cases of infection with the sabiá virus within the hospital environment. However, as there are few registered cases, it is not possible to draw a conclusion about the forms of transmission.

“This shows that with the usual precautions, such as a mask, glove, glasses and apron, there was no transmission, and it makes us a little calmer about our virus”, said Ana Nastri.

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