A deadly Ebola-like disease found in Bolivia can spread from person to person, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned on Monday.
Known as the Chapare virus, the infection causes high fevers, abdominal pain, bleeding gums, eye pain and skin rashes.
A single case was reported in the Bolivian province for which the disease is named in 2003 after it made the jump from animals - apparently through the bites or scratches of rodents - to humans.
But now the CDC has confirmed during a Monday conference that it reappeared in 2019 and spread from one patient to four others - and three of the five total cases proved fatal, LiveScience reported.
If this sounds like coronavirus deja vu, it isn't, CDC officials say. They note that hemorrhagic fevers like Chapare and Ebola very rarely become widespread because they have immediate, obvious symptoms and often, sadly, turn fatal before they have a chance to spread.
And most of the people who died in the 2019 outbreak were not random, untraceable contacts, but health care workers who had to interact with the infected person in the course of caring for them.
For the first time, CDC scientists have discovered that the rare Ebola-like Chapare virus can be passed between people after a cluster of five cases - including three fatalities - was reported in Bolivia. Pictured: a microscopic image of the Chapare virus
With the additionally confirmed cases of Chapare virus, there have only been six known incidences to-date.
After the initial case, nearly two decades ago, the virus seemed to disappear.
But last year, a hospital near La Paz, Bolivia's capital, reached out to CDC investigators.
They'd had a strange cluster of illnesses and suspected dengue fever,