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Ahead of Print -Human Hantavirus Infections in the Netherlands - Volume 20, Number 12—December 2014 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Ahead of Print -Human Hantavirus Infections in the Netherlands - Volume 20, Number 12—December 2014 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Volume 20, Number 12—December 2014


Human Hantavirus Infections in the Netherlands

Jussi SaneComments to Author , Johan Reimerink, Margriet Harms, Jacinta Bakker, Lapo Mughini-Gras, Barbara Schimmer, and Wilfrid van Pelt
Author affiliations: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands (J. Sane, J. Reimerink, M. Harms, J. Bakker, L. Mughini-Gras, B. Schimmer, W. van Pelt)European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Stockholm, Sweden (J. Sane)


We report the recent epidemiology and estimated seroprevalence of human hantavirus infections in the Netherlands. Sixty-two cases were reported during December 2008–December 2013. The estimated seroprevalence in the screened municipalities in 2006–2007 was 1.7% (95% CI 1.3%–2.3%). Findings suggest that hantavirus infections are underdiagnosed in the Netherlands.
Hantaviruses (family Bunuyaviriade, genus Hantavirus) are primarily rodent-borne pathogens that are a suspected cause of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia (1). They are transmitted to humans mainly through aerosolized rodent excreta (1). Five hantaviruses circulate among rodents in Europe, but most human HFRS cases are caused by Puumala virus (PUUV) (1,2). The reservoir for PUUV is bank voles (Myodes glareolus), which are widespread in Europe (1,2). HFRS is a reportable disease in most countries in Europe, and cases are reported mostly from Finland, Sweden, and forest-rich regions of Belgium and Germany (1,3,4).
In the Netherlands, hantavirus infections have been reportable since December 2008, although voluntary laboratory surveillance has been in place since 1989. An earlier study in the Netherlands reported a seroprevalence of 0.7% among blood donors but higher prevalences in forest workers and animal trappers (5). Antibodies to PUUV, Tula virus (TULV), and Seoul virus (SEOV) have been found in rodent populations in the Netherlands, and TULV has been isolated from common voles (Microtus arvalis) (5,6). The purpose of this study was to report recent trends in human hantavirus infection and estimate seroprevalence in the Netherlands.

Dr Sane is a fellow in the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, at National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands. His primary research interests include epidemiology of viral diseases, especially vaccine-preventable and vector-borne infections.


We thank Chantal Reusken for contributing to the study design and manuscript preparation.
J.S. was supported by the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.


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Suggested citation for this article: Sane J, Reimerink J, Harms M, Bakker J, Mughini-Gras L, Schimmer B, et al. Human hantavirus infections in the Netherlands. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2014 Dec [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2012.131886
DOI: 10.3201/eid2012.131886

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