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J Biosci. 2008 Nov;33(4):495-504.

Hantaviruses: an emerging public health threat in India? A review.

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Department of Clinical Virology, Christian Medical College, Vellore 632 004, India.


The emerging viral diseases haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) are a cause of global concern as they are increasingly reported from newer regions of the world. The hantavirus species causing HFRS include Hantaan virus,Seoul virus, Puumala virus, and Dobrava-Belgrade virus while Sin Nombre virus was responsible for the 1993 outbreak of HCPS in the Four Corners Region of the US. Humans are accidental hosts and get infected by aerosols generated from contaminated urine,feces and saliva of infected rodents. Rodents are the natural hosts of these viruses and develop persistent infection. Human to human infections are rare and the evolution of the virus depends largely on that of the rodent host. The first hantavirus isolate to be cultured, Thottapalayam virus,is the only indigenous isolate from India,isolated from an insectivore in 1964 in Vellore, South India. Research on hantaviruses in India has been slow but steady since 2005. Serological investigation of patients with pyrexic illness revealed presence of anti-hantavirus IgM antibodies in 14.7% of them. The seropositivity of hantavirus infections in the general population is about 4% and people who live and work in close proximity with rodents have a greater risk of acquiring hantavirus infections. Molecular and serological evidence of hantavirus infections in rodents and man has also been documented in this country. The present review on hantaviruses is to increase awareness of these emerging pathogens and the threats they pose to the public health system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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