Molecular signature of hantavirus infection in humans decoded

September 3, 2012

German scientists at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Labor Berlin GmbH have succeeded in clarifying the molecular signature of the viruses that lead to an increasing size and number of hantavirus outbreaks in Germany.

These illnesses affect foremost the kidneys and lungs. Using a newly created register, the study results now enable comparison of the genetic information of a particular viral strain detected in a patient with the hantaviruses in circulation in Germany. "We can now precisely allocate a patient's viral strain where the infection occurred in a particular region at risk in Germany," explains Prof. Detlev Krüger, director of the Charité Institute for Medical Virology. Study results are published in the September issue of the journal .

Hantaviruses are harbored by particular types of mice and transmitted to humans through their excretions and excrement. Infection in humans causes fever, pain—and in serious cases—. Whereas this infection was almost unknown in Germany a few years ago, in the meantime the hantavirus belongs to one of the five most frequently occurring viral illnesses subject to registration. To date, the Robert Koch Institute has already registered 2,261 cases of the virus this year so that 2012 already marks a "hantavirus record year." This demands new research efforts into the illness, its spread and risk of infection. Through the study results, particular regions where the virus breaks out and the risk of human infection within Germany can be increasingly better defined and understood.

The Berlin researchers' work was made possible by a tight network of physicians and throughout Germany, as well as by scientists from the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Greifswald.

Explore further: Hantavirus: Be careful, not fearful

More information: Ettinger J, Hofmann J, Enders M, Tewald F, Oehme RM, Rosenfeld UM, Ali HS, Schlegel M, Essbauer S, Osterberg A, Jacob J, Reil D, Klempa B, Ulrich RG, Kruger DH. Multiple synchronous outbreaks of puumala virus, Germany, 2010. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Sep;18(9):1461-4. doi: 10.3201/eid1809.111447

Related Stories

Hantavirus: Be careful, not fearful

August 30, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Hantavirus, a potentially fatal virus transmitted by rodents such as deer mice, is making news following an unusual outbreak at a popular tourist area of Yosemite National Park. The recent cases are a reminder ...

Recommended for you

How hepatitis C hides in the body

October 13, 2017
The Hepatitis C (HCV) virus is a sly enemy to have in one's body. Not only does it manage to make itself invisible to the immune system by breaking down communication between the immune cells, it also builds secret virus ...

Largest study yet of malaria in Africa shows historical rates of infection

October 12, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the University of Oxford and the University of KwaZulu-Natal has conducted the largest-ever study of the history of malaria ...

Promising new target for treatment of psoriasis is safe, study shows

October 11, 2017
A protein known to play a significant role in the development of psoriasis can be prevented from functioning without posing a risk to patients, scientists at King's College London have found.

Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells

October 11, 2017
Noroviruses are the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and are estimated to cause 267 million infections and 20,000 deaths each year. This virus causes severe diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain.

Research reveals how rabies can induce frenzied behavior

October 11, 2017
Scientists may finally understand how the rabies virus can drastically change its host's behavior to help spread the disease, which kills about 59,000 people annually.

Experimental Ebola vaccines elicit year-long immune response

October 11, 2017
Results from a large randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Liberia show that two candidate Ebola vaccines pose no major safety concerns and can elicit immune responses by one month after initial vaccination that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.