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Clin Infect Dis. 2002 May 1;34(9):1224-31. Epub 2002 Apr 4.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: the new American hemorrhagic fever.

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University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.


The recognition of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) after the investigation of a cluster of unexplained respiratory deaths in the southwestern United States during the spring of 1993 showcased our ability to recognize new and emerging diseases, given the correct juxtaposition of a new clinical entity with circumscribed epidemiologic features that are analyzed with novel diagnostic methods. In less than a decade, HPS has become established as a pan-American zoonosis due to numerous viruses maintained by sigmodontine rodents with rodent- and virus-specific epidemiologic profiles. The classical features of the syndrome-acute febrile illness associated with prominent cardiorespiratory compromise after direct contact or inhalation of aerosolized rodent excreta-has been extended to include clinical variants, including disease with frank hemorrhage, that have confirmed that this syndrome is a viral hemorrhagic fever. Efforts are under way to refine prevention strategies, to understand the pathogenesis of the shock, and to identify therapeutic modalities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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