Tags: hantavirus | epidemic | rats

Could Hantavirus Be the Next Worldwide Epidemic?

By    |   Friday, 13 Feb 2015 11:49 AM

Scientists are raising concerns that the Seoul hantavirus has the potential to cause widespread global infection.
 
The Seoul hantavirus  (SEOV) occurs in rats and can transfer to humans, where it causes  sudden fever, headache, and muscle aches. It can also lead to hemorrhagic fever and kidney failure. There is a one-to-two percent death rate.
 
Rats carrying the disease have been found in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom in recent years. Researchers say the disease has devastating potential because its hosts are the brown and black rats, which can be found virtually everywhere on Earth, says Åke Lundkvist, a Swedish professor and an author of a study on the illness, which appears in the journal Infection, Ecology & Epidemiology.
 
In Lunkvist's research, infected rats were found by Dutch water management employees in traps they routinely set to capture muskrats at various locations throughout the Netherlands.
 
"Though there are only a handful of cases on record where humans have been infected from nature, as opposed to via a pet or laboratory, I believe this discovery points to the need for a greater research effort for what could be undiscovered cases," said Lundkvist, who has been studying the virus for 25 years.
 
 

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Scientists are raising concerns that the Seoul hantavirus has the potential to cause widespread global infection. The Seoul hantavirus (SEOV) occurs in rats and can transfer to humans, where it causes sudden fever, headache, and muscle aches. It can also lead to...
hantavirus, epidemic, rats
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2015-49-13
Friday, 13 Feb 2015 11:49 AM
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