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Hantavirus Infections

Overview :

Hantaviruses are found without causing symptoms within various species of rodents and are passed to humans by exposure to the urine, feces, or saliva of those infected rodents. Ten different hantaviruses have been identified as important in humans. Each is found in specific geographic regions, and therefore is spread by different rodent carriers. Further, each type of virus causes a slightly different form of illness in its human hosts:

  • Hantaan virus is carried by the striped field mouse, and exists in Korea, China, Eastern Russia, and the Balkans. Hantaan virus causes a severe form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).
  • Puumula virus is carried by bank voles, and exists in Scandinavia, western Russia, and Europe. Puumula virus causes a milder form of HFRS, usually termed nephropathia epidemica.
  • Seoul virus is carried by a type of rat called the Norway rat, and exists worldwide, but causes disease almost exclusively in Asia. Seoul virus causes a form of HFRS that is slightly milder than that caused by Hantaan virus, but results in liver complications.
  • Prospect Hill virus is carried by meadow voles and exists in the United States, but has not been found to cause human disease.
  • Sin Nombre virus, the most predominant strain in the United States, is carried by the deer mouse. This virus was responsible for severe cases of HPS that occurred in the Southwestern United States in 1993.
  • Black Creek Canal virus has been found in Florida. It is predominantly carried by cotton rats.
  • New York virus strain has been documented in New York State. The vectors for this virus seem to be deer mice and white-footed mice.
  • Bayou virus has been reported in Louisiana and Texas and is carried by the marsh rice rat.
  • Blue River virus has been found in Indiana and Oklahoma and seems to be associated with the white-footed mouse.
  • Monongahela virus, discovered in 2000, has been found in Pennsylvania and is transmitted by the white-footed mouse.

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