Potentially fatal viral infection carried by rodents
- Hantaviruses, from the Bunyaviridae family. Single-stranded, enveloped, negative-sense RNA viruses
- Normally carried by rodents, such as rats, mice and voles
- Can cause potentially fatal human infections with either haemorrhage and AKI or Pulmonary syndromes
- Viral zoonoses transmitted via rodents
- Each hantavirus is specific to a different rodent host.
- Once infected the rodent will secrete virus possibly for life
- Transmission via inhalation of infected animal excreta and fluids, such as urine, faeces and saliva
- Any profession with rodent contact is at risk
- Haantan virus in E. Asia, particularly in China, Russia, and Korea.
- Puumala virus is found in Scandinavia, western Europe, and Russia.
- Dobrava virus is found primarily in the Balkans
- Seoul virus is found worldwide.
- Saaremaa virus also circulates in northwest Europe.
- Sin Nombre virus, the common cause of HPS in the USA, was discovered in 1993 following a cluster of acute and fatal illness in previously healthy adults
- Haemorrhagic fever with renal failure (HFRS): commonest in the Far East and Eastern Europe. Known as Old World hantaviruses (Europe, Asia and Africa)
- Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS): the southwestern United States and South America. HPS is more common in South America than in North America. New world disease.
- The incubation period is generally 2 to 4 weeks but can range from 2 days to 8 weeks.
- Fever, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, dizziness
- FBC, U&E, LFTS, CXR, ABG
- Viral serology
- Supportive measures. No known treatments or vaccines for HPS. May need ITU with intubation and ventilation. Early diagnosis improves outcome.
- To help reduce the risk of infection, simple hygiene precautions such as washing your hands after handling rats or their bedding and cage should be applied.