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Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Apr;15(4):561-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1504.080289.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, central plateau, southeastern, and southern Brazil.

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University of São Paulo School of Medicine, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.


Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is an increasing health problem in Brazil because of encroachment of sprawling urban, agricultural, and cattle-raising areas into habitats of subfamily Sigmodontinae rodents, which serve as hantavirus reservoirs. From 1993 through June 2007, a total of 884 cases of HPS were reported in Brazil (case-fatality rate 39%). To better understand this emerging disease, we collected 89 human serum samples and 68 rodent lung samples containing antibodies to hantavirus from a 2,500-km-wide area in Brazil. RNA was isolated from human samples and rodent tissues and subjected to reverse transcription-PCR. Partial sequences of nucleocapsid protein and glycoprotein genes from 22 human and 16 rodent sources indicated only Araraquara virus and Juquitiba virus lineages. The case-fatality rate of HPS was higher in the area with Araraquara virus. This virus, which may be the most virulent hantavirus in Brazil, was associated with areas that have had greater anthropogenic changes.

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