Abstract

Andes virus (ANDV) is a zoonotic Orthohantavirus leading to hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. Although most transmissions occur through environmental exposure to rodent faeces and urine, rare person-to-person transmission has been documented, mainly for close contacts. This study investigates the presence and infectivity of ANDV in body fluids from confirmed cases and the duration of viraemia. In this prospective study, 131 participants with confirmed ANDV infection were enrolled in Chile in a prospective study between 2008 and 2022. Clinical samples (buffy coat, plasma, gingival crevicular fluid [GCF], saliva, nasopharyngeal swabs [NPS], and urine) were collected weekly for 3 weeks together with clinical and epidemiological data. Samples were categorised as acute or convalescent (up to and after 16 days following onset of symptoms). Infectivity of positive fluids was assessed after the culture of samples on Vero E6 cells and use of flow cytometry assays to determine the production of ANDV nucleoprotein. ANDV RNA was detected in 100% of buffy coats during acute phase, declining to 95% by day 17, and to 93% between days 23-29. ANDV RNA in GCF and saliva decreased from 30% and 12%, respectively, during the acute phase, to 12% and 11% during the convalescent phase. Successful infectivity assays of RT-qPCR-positive fluids, including GCF, saliva, NPS, and urine, were observed in 18 (42%) of 43 samples obtained during the acute phase of infection. After re-culture, the capacity to infect Vero E6 cells was maintained in 16 (89%) of 18 samples. Severity was associated with the presence of ANDV RNA in one or more fluids besides blood (odds ratio 2·58 [95% CI 1·42-5·18]). ANDV infection is a systemic and viraemic infection, that affects various organs. The presence of infectious particles in body fluids contributes to our understanding of potential mechanisms for person-to-person transmission, supporting the development of preventive strategies. Detection of ANDV RNA in additional fluids at hospital admission is a predictor of disease severity. None. For the Spanish translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

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