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J Infect Dev Ctries. 2014 Feb 13;8(2):137-42. doi: 10.3855/jidc.3254.

Twenty years of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Brazil: a review of epidemiological and clinical aspects.

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Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brasília, DF, Brazil.


Hantavirus infection is transmitted to humans by wild rodents and the most common clinical form in Brazil is the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). The first serological evidence of the disease was identified in 1990, in Recife, Pernambuco State, and later in 1993 in Juquitiba, State of São Paulo. Since then there has been a progressive increase in case notification in all regions of the country. The clinical aspects of the disease in Brazil are characterized by a prodromal phase, with nonspecific signs and symptoms of an acute febrile illness. After about three days, respiratory distress develops, accompanied by dry cough that turns progressively productive, evolving to dyspnea and respiratory failure with cardiogenic shock. Although the majority of patients receive hospital care in intensive care therapy units, case-fatality rate in Brazil ranges from 33% to 100% depending on the region. Besides it has to be added the problem of differential diagnosis with other prevalent diseases in the country, like dengue and leptospirosis. Questions about the impact of uncontrolled urbanization and other environmental changes caused by human action have been raised. Due to increasing incidence and high case-fatality, there is an urge to respond to such questions to recommend preventative measures. This article aims to review the main acquisitions in clinical and epidemiological knowledge about HPS in Brazil in the last twenty years.

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