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Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;53(12):1208-14. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir732. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

A family cluster of infections by a newly recognized bunyavirus in eastern China, 2007: further evidence of person-to-person transmission.

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  • 1Department of Acute Infectious Diseases Control and Prevention, Jiangsu Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanjing, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Seven persons in one family living in eastern China developed fever and thrombocytopenia during May 2007, but the initial investigation failed to identify an infectious etiology. In December 2009, a novel bunyavirus (designated severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome bunyavirus [SFTSV]) was identified as the cause of illness in patients with similar clinical manifestations in China. We reexamined this family cluster for SFTSV infection.

METHODS:

We analyzed epidemiological and clinical data for the index patient and 6 secondary patients. We tested stored blood specimens from the 6 secondary patients using real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), viral culture, genetic sequencing, micro-neutralization assay (MNA), and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA).

RESULTS:

An 80-year-old woman with fever, leucopenia, and thrombocytopenia died on 27 April 2007. Between 3 and 7 May 2007, another 6 patients from her family were admitted to a local county hospital with fever and other similar symptoms. Serum specimens collected in 2007 from these 6 patients were positive for SFTS viral RNA through RT-PCR and for antibody to SFTSV through MNA and IFA. SFTSV was isolated from 1 preserved serum specimen. The only shared characteristic between secondary patients was personal contact with the index patient; none reported exposure to suspected animals or vectors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Clinical and laboratory evidence confirmed that the patients of fever and thrombocytopenia occurring in a family cluster in eastern China in 2007 were caused by a newly recognized bunyavirus, SFTSV. Epidemiological investigation strongly suggests that infection of secondary patients was transmitted to family members by personal contact.

PMID:
22028437
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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