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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2014 Aug;40(3):261-72. doi: 10.3109/1040841X.2013.783555. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Epidemiology of Hantavirus infections in humans: a comprehensive, global overview.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Patras University General Hospital , Patras , Greece .


Hantaviruses comprise an emerging global threat for public health, affecting about 30,000 humans annually. Infection may lead to Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the Americas and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in the Europe and Asia. Humans are spillover hosts, acquiring infection primarily through the inhalation of aerosolized excreta from infected rodents and insectivores. Risk factors for infection include involvement in outdoor activities, such as rural- and forest-related activities, peridomestic rodent presence, exposure to potentially infected dust and outdoor military training; prolonged, intimate contact with infected individuals promotes transmission of Andes virus, the only Hantavirus known to be transmitted from human-to-human. The total number of Hantavirus case reports is generally on the rise, as is the number of affected countries. Knowledge of the geographical distribution, regional incidence and associated risk factors of the disease are crucial for clinicians to suspect and diagnose infected individuals early on. Climatic, ecological and environmental changes are related to fluctuations in rodent populations, and subsequently to human epidemics. Thus, prevention may be enhanced by host-reservoir control and human exposure prophylaxis interventions, which likely have led to a dramatic reduction of human cases in China over the past decades; vaccination may also play a role in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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